Banks, miners drag FTSE 100 lower; retail sales surge

UK stocks flat as banks negate strong retail sales data
UK stocks flat as banks negate strong retail sales data   -   Copyright  (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Click For Restrictions -   -  
By Reuters

<p><body> <p>By Shivani Kumaresan</p> <p>(Reuters) -London’s <span class="caps">FTSE</span> 100 fell on Friday and was set to post a weekly loss, as banks and mining stocks declined, while retail sales jumped as the country reopened after months of severe business restrictions.</p> <p>The blue-chip index slid 0.6%, with banks, including <span class="caps">HSBC</span> Holdings, Prudential Plc, and Standard Chartered, being the biggest drag. </p> <p>Miners Anglo American Plc, Glencore Plc, and Rio Tinto fell between 0.4% and 0.8%. [METL]</p> <p>Retail sales surged by 9.2% in April, when non-essential shops reopened after months of closure due to <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 restrictions, their biggest jump since a previous reopening in June, official data showed.</p> <p>“We suspect consumer spending will remain heavily targeted towards online retailers, suggesting traditional high street stores will continue to struggle,” said James Smith, developed markets economist at <span class="caps">ING</span>.</p> <p>“Interestingly, April’s rebound in various spending categories didn’t come at the expense of online shopping; (it is) increasing and still sits some 50% above pre-pandemic levels.”</p> <p>The domestically focussed mid-cap <span class="caps">FTSE</span> 250 index fell 0.3%.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">FTSE</span> 100 has gained 8.2% year-to-date on optimism about economic recovery. But the index has been trading in a tight range recently as higher inflation has stoked fears that central banks might pare back their support sooner than expected.</p> <p>A Reuters poll found that the UK economy will expand 5.9% this year, much stronger than the 5.0% forecast last month, as a fast-moving coronavirus vaccine programme allows businesses to reopen and lifts confidence.</p> <p>Biffa rose 5.2% to the top of mid-cap index after its proposal to buy the collections business and certain recycling assets from Viridor Waste Management Ltd for 126 million pounds ($178.87 million).</p> <p>Card Factory slid 13.7% after reporting a marginal drop in like-for-like store sales, compared with 2019, after the UK began reopening stores and eased restrictions in April.</p> <p> (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V)</p> </body></p>