UK shares edge higher on bets of economic recovery; Barratt surges
Jan 8 (Reuters) – Britain’s FTSE 100 index inched higher on Friday to end the week with gains of more than 6% as investors bet on a swift economic recovery, while Barratt Developments surged on plans to resume dividend payouts next month.
The blue-chip index gained 0.2%, led by consumer discretionary and industrial stocks.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com said more U.S. stimulus could mean more lending and borrowing resulting in higher bond yields which bodes well for equity prices.
“There is overall positivity about the phase of where the (UK) economy is heading and positive feelings about stimulus in the U.S..”
British blue-chips have gained nearly 38% from their record lows hit in February last year and are 10.6% away from their 2020 highs, as huge global stimulus measures boosted risk sentiment.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index (.FTMC) rose 0.3%.
Britain reported 1,325 new deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, its highest daily figure since the outbreak of the pandemic, as the country struggled to stem rising infections from a new highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus.
London, meanwhile, declared a major incident on Friday with hospitals at risk of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. read more
Clothing retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) fell 2.4% after its CEO said the company is likely to see a further deterioration in sales in its clothing and homewares division in the current quarter due to the latest national lockdown. read more
Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva
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