FTSE 100 dips as market assesses retailers
The UK market opened lower as analysts digested a feast of Christmas trading updates from retailers.
After closing at its 10th record high in a row on Wednesday, the FTSE 100 opened 22.03 points lower at 7,268.46.
Investors welcomed news of better-than-expected sales at Marks and Spencer in its clothing division, sending the High Street giant's shares up 2.5%.
Underlying sales in the clothing and homeware division rose 2.3% - well above expectations for about 0.5%.
Tesco's shares fell 2.3%, despite the UK's largest supermarket reporting a 0.7% rise in UK like-for-like sales over Christmas.
Primark owner Associated British Foods was another company on the back foot, with its shares down 2.1%.
Total sales at Primark rose 11%, with like-for-like sales "good". However, it said like-for-like sales were down in Germany and the Netherlands.
In the FTSE 250, shares in JD Sports rose 6% after it reported a strong increase in sales and raised its full-year profit forecast.
But AO World fell 6.1% after the electrical goods retailer reported third-quarter trading. Group revenue for the three months to 31 December rose 12.3%, but the company said it remained "cautious about the final quarter given the uncertain UK economic outlook, currency impacts on supplier pricing and the possible effect on consumer demand."