By Amal S and Sruthi Shankar
-British stocks ended near session highs on Friday, and the blue-chip index clocked its best weekly performance in over a year as investors digested negotiations over the Ukraine-Russia conflict and a dovish outlook from the Bank of England this week.
The FTSE 100 closed up 0.3%, while domestically focused mid-cap stocks gained 0.9%. Both indexes marked their best two-week gains since November 2020.
Global stocks also looked set to end the week on firm footing as investors focused on U.S. President Joe Biden’s talks with his Chinese counterpart on Friday, seeking to prevent Beijing’s support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Broadly equity markets held onto the weekly gains despite lack of tangible progress in the peace talks.
“Stocks may actually take the lack of newsflow as a positive,” Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG. “For now there doesn’t seem to be much of an appetite to sell the bounce.”
Meanwhile, investors scaled back their expectations for future BoE rate hikes this year after the central bank raised rates for a third consecutive time on Thursday but softened its language about further tightening.
Oil majors Shell and BP dropped 1.2% and 2.1%, respectively, as crude prices were subdued but found a floor above $100 a barrel. [O/R]
Global miner Glencore rose 0.9% after HSBC started coverage with a “buy” rating.
While the FTSE is still lower on the month, its losses were less than its continental peers’ such as the German DAX as a rally in commodity prices boosted oil and mining majors on the index.
Ted Baker jumped 17.1% after U.S. private equity firm Sycamore Partners said it is in the early stages of making a possible cash offer for the fashion retailer.
Vodafone gained 1.3% after Reuters reported that global infrastructure funds approached the network operator to invest in its $16 billion mast company Vantage Towers.