UK’s FTSE 100 logs weekly fall despite late energy boost

By Shubham Batra and Shashwat Chauhan

(Reuters) -UK’s FTSE 100 ended slightly higher on Friday as rising energy stocks helped counter broader market weakness, although along with the FTSE 250 it clocked a weekly loss.

The benchmark FTSE 100 closed up 0.1%, while the midcap index was down 0.1%. Both indexes logged weekly falls, of 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

The personal goods and real estate investment trusts sectors were the worst hit this week, while non-life insurers was best performing.

On Friday, the automobiles and parts and retailers led gains amongst the major FTSE 350 sectors, while personal goods and non-life insurers were amongst the biggest fallers.

Keeping a lid on losses, heavyweight energy stocks added 0.4%.

Trading activity was light as U.S. markets re-opened after Thanksgiving for a truncated “Black Friday” trading session.

“The Thanksgiving break in the U.S. means volumes are thin on the ground, and at the same time, there isn’t a great deal of corporate or economic news to sway the index,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Meanwhile, market research firm GfK late on Thursday said British consumers have turned more optimistic about their outlook for the economy and their personal finances this month, but their mood remained a long way off pre-COVID levels.

“The slowing down of inflation and growing hope for a kinder interest rate environment are likely all contributing to the improvement,” added Hargreaves Lansdown’s Yates.

Among individual stocks, Barclays climbed 1.0% after Reuters reported late on Thursday the British bank is working on plans to save as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion), which could involve cutting as many as 2,000 jobs.

Sage Group dropped 2.3% after gaining more than 12% this week. The software company’s shares had hit a record high earlier this week after strong results.

(Reporting by Shubham Batra and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman, Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Alexander Smith)