London shares are rising in the shortened week as the extended Christmas break approaches

The last full trading session before an extended Christmas break for London was positive on Thursday, with the main stock index gaining momentum from heavily weighted resource and banking sectors.

FTSE 100 Index UKX,
+0.50%
rose 0.4% to 7,373.20, in a week so far where the index has risen 1.4%. GBPUSUSD,
+0.40%
rose 0.3% to $ 1.3420.

The London Stock Exchange closes for a half session on Friday Christmas Eve and then does not open again until Wednesday.

Investors are keeping an eye on COVID developments in the UK, which continue to see soaring cases and pressure on its healthcare system. The UK government has indicated that restrictions may come after Christmas, when other parts of England are already enforcing stricter measures.

Holiday travel may still have played a role in rising equities, with gains from Wall Street also inspiring global equities on Thursday. Shares in International Consolidated Airlines IAG,
+2.21%
increased 3%, easyJet EZJ,
+2.76%
increased 4% and the bus group National Express NEX,
+3.14%
saw an increase of more than 4%. Wizz Air WIZZ,
+1.96%
rose 3.6 pct.

Also in London, rising energy names helped shares in BP BP,
+1.49%

BP,
+1.28%
and Royal Dutch Shell RDS.A,
+1.53%

RDSA,
+1.40%
climbing more than 2% each. Miners also struck with gains, as Rio Tinto RIO,
+0.74%

RIO,
+0.61%,
Glencore GLEN,
+0.67%
and BHP BHP,
+1.38%
increased more than 1% each.

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