London closes week on winning streak
The FTSE 100 closed the day up 59.89 points (0.83%) at 7,294.70.
Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty gained as it won a 30% share of a huge contract to design and build an ‘automated people mover’ at Los Angeles International airport. Minerals company Evraz made gains after Deutsche Bank issued a ‘buy’ notice.
Temporary power supplier Aggreko was hit by a downgrade from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Standard Life Aberdeen recovered from earlier losses on the back of an upgrade to ‘outperform’ from ‘market perform’ by Bernstein.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 131 points at one stage and heading for a sixth session of rises before ending up just 16.32 points at 25,216.69. The S&P 500 rose just 1.03 points at 2,732.23. The Nasdaq ended the week 16.96 points lower at 7,239.47..
Brent crude is up 0.8% at $64.87 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate is ahead 0.6% at $61.53.
On Thursday the S&P 500 enjoyed its biggest five-day gain since December 2011, and opened today just 4.9% off its all-time high of 2872.87 on 26 January.
Apple (up 3.36%) and other technology stocks led the charge as investors shrugged off recent inflation worries.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.1% overnight.
Fashion retailer Laura Ashley issued its third profit warning in 12 months, hit by adverse currency movements and a slump in demand for furniture and wallpaper in the UK.
In the six months to the end of December profits dived to £4.3m from £7.8m a year earlier. The company said it would not hit the £9m full year profits expected by City analysts and ditched its interim dividend. Last year it made a profit of £8.4m.
It came on the back of data from the Scottish Retail Consortium on Wednesday showing Scottish sales decreased by 0.7% on a like-for-like basis last month compared to January 2017. This is slightly below the three-month average of -0.5%.
There are worries that President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and fiscal spending could stoke inflation and erode the value of the dollar which continued its descent, hitting a three-year low against a basket of major currencies.