Supermarket groups lead solid FTSE

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The FTSE 100 rose 0.4 points higher to 5971.2

Supermarket stocks finished the year with a flourish as the FTSE 100 Index stuck close to its opening mark in a shortened trading session.

The top flight stood 0.4 points higher at 5971.2 but looks set to gain by more than 10% across the year as a whole following a better-than-expected 2010.

With trading for the year due to finish at lunchtime, there was little in the way of corporate news to stir buying interest.

Asian markets also traded in a narrow range as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished a shortened trading session just 0.2% higher. Japan’s stock market was closed for the day, having dropped more than 1% in its previous session.

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s occupied the leading positions in the FTSE 100 Index as investors prepared for key trading updates in the sector in the coming days.

Bradford-based Morrisons, which is due to report figures on January 10, rose 4.4p to 271.8p, while Sainsbury’s added 4.5p to 384.6p and Tesco lifted 2.1p to 431.65p.

Elsewhere in the retail sector, B&Q owner Kingfisher added 2.7p to 267.3p, Next cheered 13p to 2007p and Primark firm Associated British Foods lifted 8p to 1190p.

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