UPDATE 2-UK shares end higher, but log another week of loss

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-UK shares end higher, but log another week of loss
Credit: © Reuters.

(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window)

* FTSE 100 up 0.8%, FTSE 250 gains 6%

* Oil majors boost FTSE 100

* Marks & Spencer sinks after warnings of virus hit

(Updates with closing price)

By Sruthi Shankar

March 20 (Reuters) - UK shares managed to end a tumultuous week in positive territory on Friday, as investors pinned hopes on more stimulus actions as the coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on global growth.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE closed up 0.8%, buoyed by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell RDSA.L and BP BP.L , but the index logged its sixth straight week of decline.

The midcap FTSE 250 index .FTMC jumped 6%, although far from erasing its weekly losses as domestic firms took a hit from measures put in place to minimise social interaction.

However, markets across the globe stabilised somewhat on Friday, as central banks and governments took extraordinary measures to support businesses and the economy.

Britain's government will pay firms hit by the outbreak not to lay off workers, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday, adding it would give grants to cover 80% of a worker's salary if businesses kept them on staff. clearly a day where some people have decided to cover their shorts, and there's some kind of a relief rally," said Chris Bailey, European strategist at Raymond (NS: RYMD ) James in London.

"I don't think there's much aggressive buying, but the broad environment has gotten a bit better."

The Bank of England made its second emergency move in cutting borrowing costs to a record low on Thursday and promised 200 billion pounds of additional bond purchases, on top of several other measures. stocks that have taken a heavy hit in the past weeks including Carnival Corp (LON: CCL ) CCL.N and Easyjet EZJ.L and IAG ICAG.L rose between 10% and 20%, while Holiday Inn owner IHG IHG.L jumped 15.4% after it announced a series of measures to cut costs and ride out travel restrictions. group J D Wetherspoon JDW.L surged 25%, alongside peers Marston's MARS.L and Mitchells & Butlers MAB.L , even as it cancelled its dividend and said profit would be below market expectations. shares took a heavy beating earlier this week after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked people to avoid cafes, pubs and restaurants across the country. On Friday, Johnson ordered indefinite shut. platform CMC (NS: CMC ) Markets CMCX.L jumped 14.8% as it boosted its annual earnings target amid frantic selling driven by the coronavirus. Future Plc FUTR.L surged 40.7% to the top of the midcap index after upbeat earnings forecast. a weak spot, retailer Marks & Spencer MKS.L dropped 7.1% as it warned trading over the next nine to 12 months in its clothing, homewares and international businesses was likely to be "severely impacted" by the pandemic. a client note, Unicredit (MI: CRDI )'s lead equity analyst told investors to be wary of relief rallies.

"Companies have only just begun lowering earnings forecasts. Further negative revisions of up to 30% or more should be expected as well as significantly lower dividend payments this year and next," Unicredit's Christian Stocker said.

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