Traders were in a buoyant mood on Tuesday, sending the FTSE 250 index to an all-time high at its 12.30pm close as they prepared for the Christmas break.

The mid-cap stock index finished the half-day trading session at 21,981 points, a 0.6 per cent rise on the day. It has risen sharply this month.

“The Santa rally starts today and if it delivers its typical holiday rally, could produce a 1.3% gain over the next seven trading days,” said Edward Moya, a market analyst at Oanda.

It is in stark contrast to last Christmas Eve when shares on the main US indices plunged by more than 2% amid tough talk on Chinese trade from President Donald Trump.

However, very different noises are now coming from the White House, with trade talks yielding better results.

“This holiday period should be rather calm as trade updates appear very constructive as we near the finalisation of the phase-one trade deal next month,” Mr Moya said.

“The reason we won’t see a repeat of last year is because there are no fears of any of the major central banks tightening policy any time soon.”

In London, the FTSE-100 index of leading shares closed the day in the black, up 8.65 points, or 0.1%, to 7632, a five-month high. France’s CAC-40 index, and the German Dax index were mirror images, rising and falling 0.13% respectively.

“It has been a lacklustre trading session as not much happened in Asia overnight so traders in Europe have been left uninspired. A lack of major geopolitical news has caused market volatility to be low,” said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets.

Spot gold prices rose 0.3%, to 1489.62 dollars per ounce.

London-listed companies did not have much big news to report over the morning.

Car dealership group Pendragon announced that it had completed a £31 million disposal of a Jaguar Land Rover showroom in California amid a wider plan to withdraw from its motor group in the US.

The deal was originally announced in May. Shares in Pendragon closed up around 1%, finishing 0.14p higher at 12.8p.

The £31.1 million sale by Pendragon, which completed on Monday, follows the disposal of its Chevrolet dealership in Puente Hills, California. Pendragon trades under the Evans Halshaw and Stratstone brands.

The biggest risers on the FTSE-100 were Lloyds, up 1.22p to 63.42p, Bunzl, up 35p to 2,150.00p, Croda International, up 80p to 5,125.00p, Experian, up 40p to 2,605.00p, and Ocado, up 19.5p to 1,269.50p.

The biggest fallers were BT, down 6.05p to 196.00p, Rolls-Royce Holdings, down 6.4p to 698.00p, Unilever, down 39.5p to 4,389.50p, Evraz, down 2.8p to 395.90p, and London Stock Exchange, down 54p to 7,680.00p.