Amazon shares surge 3 per cent after 'record-breaking' holiday season

Meanwhile, Wall Street stocks reach record highs over the Christmas period

Shares of Amazon rose more than three per cent on Thursday, which was the largest gain in the S&P 500 index, following a "record-breaking" holiday season.

According to a press release from the e-commerce company "billions of items were purchased" along with "tens of millions of Amazon devices" during the holiday season. In addition, more than five million new customers started Prime free trials or began paid memberships worldwide – in just one week.

Stocks on Wall Street surged to new records over the Christmas period. The S&P 500 was up by 0.16 per cent at 3,245.09, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading at 28,692.84 at noon EST, a 0.25 per cent gain. NASDAQ was trading 0.05 per cent higher at 9,026.73, topping the 9,000 mark for the first time ever.

While news of phase one of trade agreement between the US has boosted US trading, Asian stocks haven’t been so bullish.

The SSE Composite Index fell 0.08 per cent to around 3,005.04, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 0.36 per cent lower at 23,837.72, after shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 2.01 per cent.

There were some gains however, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gaining 1.30 per cent to reach 28,225.42, and Kospi in South Korea up 0.29 per cent at 2,204.21.

The FTSE 100 closed fractionally higher today, after a two-day Christmas break, with a 0.17 per cent increase to 7,644.90.

London’s leading index has risen 14 per cent this year, which puts it on track for its best annual performance in three years.

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Gold miner Polymetal international closed up 1.67 per cent, tracking spot gold prices higher.

The FTSE 250 index closed up 0.35 per cent, at 22,058.99, with precious metal Fresnillo up 3.33 per cent, to reach 620.00.

Things are also on the up in Europe, with shares rising to another record high. The Euro Stoxx 50 futures added 0.21 per cent, closing at 3,782.27 and the DAX rose 0.27 per cent, closing at 13,337.11.

On the forex markets, sterling is up more than a third of a cent at US$1.3032, but the Pound to Euro exchange rate has been unable to sustain much in the way of gains, as Brexit fears continue to hang over the UK.

At the time of writing GBP/EUR is trending at around 1.1700.

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