By Shashank Nayar
-London’s FTSE 100 was boosted by homebuilders and consumer discretionary stocks on Friday and set to end the week higher as investors shrugged off a recent jump in coronavirus infections ahead of plans for UK’s lockdown being lifted this month.
The FTSE 100 climbed 0.2% with homebuilders gaining the most, up nearly 1.4%. Consumer heavyweights Reckitt Benckiser, GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever gained between 0.5% and 1.0%.
Jefferies on Friday maintained its upbeat stance on UK homebuilders, lifting Barratt Developments and Bellway to “buy” from “hold”.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index added 0.5% and was also set to end the week higher with homebuilder Bellway being the top boost.
“Markets in London are quite stable right now and have settled near the 7,000 level with investors being optimistic on a faster economic growth as the UK confirms to ease its lockdown rules in a few days,” said Michael Baker, an analyst at ETX Capital.
Miners jumped 1.1% and were among the top gainers with Anglo American being the top boost to the blue-chip index.
The FTSE 100 has gained nearly 10% so far this year, but has been largely range-bound over the previous quarter as concerns over a jump in coronavirus infections clouded investor judgement on the pace of economic revival in the country.
After market hours on Thursday, JD Sports Fashion said its remuneration committee’s chair would leave the board following a shareholder rebellion over management pay at Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer. Its shares dropped 0.2% on Friday.
Globally, sentiment was strong as shares held near record highs as investors looked to U.S. jobs data for signs of balanced economic growth with tame inflationary pressure. [MKTS/GLOB]