UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 flat as losses in banks, energy stocks offset gains in miners
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* Jefferies maintains upbeat stance on UK homebuilders
* JD Sports slips on shareholder rebellion
After gaining as much as 0.52%, the blue-chip index FTSE 100 ended 0.03% lower, with banks being the biggest drag.
Energy stocks fell 0.8% with oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell down 1.0% and 0.8%, respectively, tracking weaker crude.
Miners jumped 0.9% and were the top gainers, with Anglo American among the top boosts to the blue-chip index.
Homebuilders gained 0.3% and were among the biggest boosts on the index this week, up 1.94%, as buyers rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday which starts to taper from the start of July.
Jefferies maintained its upbeat stance on UK homebuilders on Friday, lifting Barratt Developments and Bellway to “buy” from “hold”.
“The housebuilding sector remains a firm favourite with investors, despite the stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland starting to be tapered,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
“Fundamentally, there is still a major shortage of homes in the UK, so perhaps investors are taking the view that housebuilders will be able to easily sell every property they construct.”
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 judgment on the pace of economic revival in the country.
The domestically focused mid-cap index added 0.6% and ended the week 0.4% higher.
The London Stock Exchange Group gained 0.2% after the exchange said it is in a strong financial position with integration of the $27 billion Refinitiv data and analytics company it bought in January on track.
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 1.7% on Friday.
Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Shounak Dasgupta and Krishna Chandra Eluri