Wed close: FTSE boosted by Bank report

London was back in positive territory but was tempered by weaker American retail sales figures.
The FTSE 100 finished 0.23% higher at 6,949.63, but settled firmly below the intraday high of 6,989.91.

Shares rose after the Bank of England scaled back its GDP and wage growth forecasts in its inflation report. The statement hit sterling, but equity traders were encouraged that interest rates are unlikely to rise until next year.

However, markets wobbled after the US Commerce Department said US retail sales flatlined in April. This compared with a 1.1% jump in March and the 0.2% increase analysts had expected.

Economic news in the UK was mixed. Unemployment fell to a seven-year low while French economic growth beat forecasts and German expansion figures were weaker than expected.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments was higher on positive outlook numbers, giving Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey a boost.

Admiral was weaker on the news that chief executive of the motor insurer, Henry Engelhardt, is stepping down in a year’s time.

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