LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is creeping up as trading volumes strengthen after the festive lull, and trading over the Christmas period is turning out better than many had expected.
The index of top U.K. stocks added 89 points (1.3%) during the week to reach 6,829. That's just 47 points away from setting a new 14-year record, ahead of the 6,876 peak of May 2013.
Here are four of the week's biggest FTSE 100 movers.
Anglo American (AAL -1.88%)
Anglo American was the biggest beneficiary among the FTSE 100 miners this week, after bullish comments from analysts gave the whole sector a boost -- Anglo American finished Friday up 141.5 pence (11%) to 1,391 pence.
The stock is now around 25% down over 12 months, but rising earnings forecasts for the next two years suggest the company's P/E rating should fall as low as 9.5 by 2015 if the price doesn't move.
J Sainsbury (SBRY -1.33%)
A third-quarter update from J Sainsbury on Jan. 8 didn't have much effect that week, but this week the price put on a belated spurt and climbed 22.6 pence (6.5%) to 368.6 pence.
The quarter was generally pretty flat for the supermarket chain, but the company did tell us of a "very tough sales environment throughout October and November," and the news of an upbeat retail Christmas is only just filtering through.
William Hill (WMH)
William Hill had a disappointing week, falling 22.4 pence (5.9%) to 360.1 pence, even though the bookmaker reported "a strong end to the year" in its fourth-quarter trading update released Friday.
Group revenue for the year rose by 18% on a 52-week basis, and operating profit is expected to be around 334 million pounds. Online revenue continued to strengthen, up 14% in the final quarter compared with the equivalent period the previous year.
Sports Direct International (FRAS -1.06%)
Sporting goods and clothing retailer Sports Direct International surprised us on Monday with the announcement that it had acquired a 6.3% stake in troubled department store chain Debenhams. The Sports Direct price went on to lose 44 pence (5.8%) over the week to close at 712 pence.
The Debenhams price responded with a mere 0.5 pence rise, to 82 pence, and currently stands around 20% down over the past 12 months.
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