London stocks traded higher Friday, but underperformed other European regional indexes due to a strong British pound.
The pound GBPUSD, +0.8540% climbed 0.8% to $1.3096, while the FTSE 100 index UKX, +0.08% rose 0.3% to 7,655.53. Many of the top companies in the FTSE 100 generate the bulk of revenue outside of Britain, so their stock prices rise when sterling falls.
Volumes are expected to be thin on Friday, as many traders may stretch the Christmas break into the weekend, and may not return until after the New Year holiday.
Reports of blockbuster holiday sales from Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.98% helped drive all three main U.S. indexes to record closes on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.22% closing above 9,000 for the first time. U.S. stock futures pointed to potentially more records for Friday.
Separately, data from China revealed industrial profits improved in November. Mining stocks, sensitive to news from China, rose. Shares of Rio Tinto PLC RIO, +0.20% RIO, +0.10% rose 1.3% and Anglo American PLC AAL, +0.37% gained 1.4%.