Economic news

UK's FTSE 100 Flat, Set for Strong Weekly Gains on Cooling Inflation

  • Hargreaves Lansdown up on Jefferies upgrade
  • July consumer confidence at -30 vs -24 June - GfK survey
  • June retail sales rise 0.7% vs expectations of 0.2% - ONS data
  • FTSE 250 set for best week since November
  • FTSE 100 flat, FTSE 250 off 0.3%

July 21 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 was subdued on Friday as gains in energy firms countered losses in healthcare and mining stocks, though the index was bound for its best weekly performance in nearly four months on signs of slowing inflation.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was steady at 7,640.77 points, while the more domestically-focussed FTSE 250 midcap index fell 0.3%.

The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 is up nearly 3% for the week so far, as data showing domestic inflation eased more than anticipated in June boosted sentiment.

The midcap index is headed for its best weekly performance since November.

However, official data on Friday showed British retail sales rose more than expected in June, raising caution around monetary policy expectations.

"For the economy, this (data) is welcome as robust domestic consumption will go a long way in helping the economy avoid slipping into recession," said Stuart Cole, chief macro economist at Equiti Capital.

"But today's numbers will likely have been read with some concern inside the Bank of England, as they suggest more work needs to be done in its efforts to dull demand in order to tame inflation."

Meanwhile, a survey from market research firm GfK showed British consumers have turned more pessimistic, ending a five-month streak of growing confidence levels.

Heavyweight energy stocks added 0.2% as crude prices rose.

Industrial metal miners slipped 0.7% after rising nearly 3% in the previous session. Glencore edged 0.8% lower after the miner said its first-half copper production fell by 10%.

Healthcare heavyweight AstraZeneca slipped 0.3% after three sessions of gains.

Rate-sensitive homebuilders were down 0.3% for the day, but the sector is on track to be the week's best performer.

Real estate and real estate investment trusts  were down 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively.

Hargreaves Lansdown <HRGV.L> gained 1.5% after Jefferies upgraded the investment platform's rating to "buy" from "underperform".

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Eileen Soreng

Source: Reuters

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