Britain's top stock index rises after global rally despite Brexit concerns
Britain's top stock index rose on Friday after a tumultuous week during which global stocks sold off and investors in UK stocks fretted about a parliamentary vote on Brexit next Tuesday.
Britain's FTSE 100 rebounded from Thursday's plunge to gain 1.5 per cent. Financials, consumer stocks and oil majors boosted the index.
Investors and analysts remained unconvinced the gains represented a change in sentiment, though.
"Are people going to put new cash to work convincingly now, thinking this is the low? I can't see there's any urgency to do that now really," said Ian Williams, an analyst at Peel Hunt.
"It does look like a bounce from an extreme technical oversold level, but I don't think it means we're out of the woods yet by any means," he said.
Shares in Associated British Foods fell 2.4 per cent after the Primark owner said trading at its budget fashion chain was challenging in November.
"The next three weeks will be critical, and there may be a chance to reverse the trend if the weather normalises," Credit Suisse analysts said.
Marks & Spencer shares also underperformed the market, up just 0.6 per cent, as traders said Primark's weaker performance reflected broader challenges for retail.
Shire fell 1.7 per cent, the second worst-performing FTSE 100 stock. Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical, the company acquiring Shire, suffered a 5 per cent slide in its shares overnight.
Multinationals British American Tobacco, Diageo, Unilever drove much of the FTSE 100 gains as the dollar recovered from Thursday's slide.
Mid-caps saw some big moves.
Intellectual-property investment firm IP Group's shares fell 7 per cent after Jefferies cut its rating on the stock to "underperform" from "hold".
"Against our earlier hopes for second-tier portfolio companies to step up to diversify dependence on Oxford Nanopore, hopefuls have largely failed to deliver, the listed portfolio drags and the market remains largely uninterested - ominously with the next significant funding beginning to loom," Jefferies analysts said.
Shares in tour operator Thomas Cook fell a further 3.5 per cent, having suffered sharp falls this week.
Genus fell 4.7 per cent after the company announced a placing of 3 million new shares.
On their first day of trading, shares in retail investment platform AJ Bell surged 36 per cent. The firm's IPO valued it at 651 million pounds.
(With inputs from agencies.)