London midday: Stocks up but off highs; miners rally
London stocks were off earlier highs but still in the black by midday on Friday amid hopes a US debt ceiling deal will be done, as investors mulled better-than-expected UK retail sales data.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,584.09.
Sentiment was boosted after it was reported that US President Joe Biden and Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy have moved closer to a two-year deal to limit government spending and avert a US debt default.
The Financial Times cited people familiar with the potential agreement as saying that negotiators were looking to finalise the deal in the coming days, ahead of a looming deadline of 1 June when the US could run out of cash to pay all of its financial obligations.
It was understood that over the course of the day on Thursday, both the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill suggested the talks were in a better place, though nothing had been concluded.
On home shores, figures out earlier from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales rose more than expected in April as shoppers returned to the high street.
Retail sales increased by 0.5% following a 1.2% decline in March. This was ahead of analysts’ expectations of 0.3% growth.
Food store sales volumes were 0.7% higher, while non-food store sales were up 1%. Other store and department store sales rose 2.1% on the month and 1.7%, respectively.
ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: "Retail sales grew, partially rebounding from a poor weather affected March, with jewellers, sports retailers and department stores all having a good month. Despite continued high food prices, supermarkets also recovered from the fall in March.
"However, these were partly offset by a drop in the amount of fuel sold, despite prices also dropping."
In equity markets, heavily-weighted miners were the top performers as metals prices rose, with Rio Tinto, Antofagasta, Anglo American and Glencore all up.
Elsewhere, AstraZeneca was a touch firmer after it said results from a Phase III trial showed its Imfinzi treatment in combination with chemotherapy showed a significant improvement in patients with endometrial cancer.
On the downside, IAG flew lower after British Airways cancelled at least 50 Heathrow flights at the start of the Bank holiday weekend due to a computer problem affecting online check-in.
Halfords was hit by a downgrade to ‘sector perform’ from ‘outperform’ at RBC Capital Markets.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,584.09 0.17%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,789.70 -0.27%
techMARK (TASX) 4,571.94 -0.20%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,943.00p 3.89%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,388.50p 2.85%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,324.00p 2.51%
Glencore (GLEN) 426.65p 2.46%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 2,008.00p 2.14%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,286.50p 1.38%
Centrica (CNA) 117.85p 1.38%
Fresnillo (FRES) 661.40p 1.35%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,419.00p 1.17%
M&G (MNG) 194.25p 1.15%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 78.56p -3.08%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 667.00p -2.41%
Kingfisher (KGF) 228.30p -2.02%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 115.60p -1.53%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 155.30p -1.52%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 470.80p -1.42%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 206.40p -1.24%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 225.20p -1.23%
Barclays (BARC) 155.06p -1.22%
Tesco (TSCO) 262.30p -1.02%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 26.04p 6.03%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 170.00p 3.41%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 238.20p 2.28%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,264.00p 2.27%
UK Commercial Property Reit Limited (UKCM) 52.10p 2.16%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 219.20p 1.67%
AJ Bell (AJB) 320.40p 1.46%
Schroder Oriental Income Fund Ltd. (SOI) 255.00p 1.39%
Balanced Commercial Property Trust Limited (BCPT) 81.00p 1.38%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 228.00p 1.33%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Darktrace (DARK) 269.80p -7.60%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 159.20p -4.67%
IntegraFin Holding (IHP) 265.40p -4.12%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 345.80p -3.30%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 92.00p -2.95%
Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 485.40p -2.53%
Synthomer (SYNT) 99.95p -2.49%
ASOS (ASC) 408.40p -2.32%
Indivior (INDV) 1,455.00p -2.28%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,547.00p -2.15%