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UK stock markets advance to seal week of gains

European shares today made further progress, completing a fi..

European shares today made further progress, completing a five-day gain that part-eroded last week's big sell-off.

UK equities advanced just under one per cent, sealing a near-three per cent gain on the week.

Germany's Dax gained 0.9 per cent today while France's Cac was up 1.3 per cent.

Sterling slipped earlier below $1.41 amid January's disappointing retail sales figures.

Index Monday open Friday close Weekly movement
FTSE 100 7,092 7,295 2.9 per cent
FTSE 250 19,217 19,734 2.7 per cent
Dax 12,239 12,453 1.7 per cent
Cac 40 5,130 5,285 3.0 per cent

Read more: Retail sales have disappointed – but were boosted by New Year health drives

Official figures published this morning showed sales rose 1.6 per cent in the year to January, well below the 2.6 per cent rise expected by economists.Well below expectations in January, Britain's retail sector was boosted by a rise in non-food sales, thanks to people's New Year's resolutions to "get fit and lose weight".

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said was a 0.1 per cent increase in sales between December and January, with declines in all the sectors apart from non-food stores.

According to the ONS, the rise in non-food sale was largely down to sports equipment, games and toys, which rose 10.9 per cent.

"Feedback from retailers suggested that New Year’s resolutions to “get fit and lose weight” contributed to this increase of sales when compared with the previous year," the research said.

“Growth in the quantity of sporting equipment, games and toys being bought was offset by falling food sales when compared with the same month a year earlier," added Rhian Murphy, senior statistician at the ONS.

“Sporting equipment sales have grown more than usual in January 2018, following an increased uptake for gym wear.”

Read more: FTSE 100 and Wall Street bounce back after week of turmoil

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