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Fri close: Confidence fails to lift FTSE

UK business confidence hit an eight-month high as the Lloyds Bank Business Confidence Barometer climbed 2% month-on-month to 55% in May, reaching its highest level since September on rising optimism about the economy and trading prospects.

But investors continued to fret about Greece which forced London to end the week on a low.

The FTSE 100 finished the day down by 0.80% or 56.49 points at 6,984.43.

Equinix of California confirmed it was to acquire UK datacentre firm Telecity for £2.3 billion.

Ashtead was the worst performer on the Footsie, extending Thursday’s losses, which came as competitor United Rentals dropped 6% from comments made at a KeyBanc capital markets conference where the firm played down its trading for May.

Morrison was another poor performer on the top flight index after it became known the relationship between suppliers and retailers is set to be scrutinised by the Financial Reporting Council following Tesco’s accounting scandal.

Astrazeneca was in the red, despite announcing plans to collaborate with Lilly on immuno-oncology combination clinical trials on solid tumours.

Topping the FTSE 100 was Associated British Foods after Goldman Sachs upgraded its shares to ‘buy’ from ‘sell’ and raised the price target to 3120p from 2755p, saying that the stock’s 17% underperformance year-to-date offers an attractive entry point.

Ophir Energy was another stock on the up thanks to a broker upgrade, with Barclays making the oil company one of its top sector picks.

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