(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* UK PMIs hit highest since Nov. 2013
* FirstGroup jumps on $4.6 billion sale of two U.S. units
* Mid-cap stocks snap four week winning streak
* FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 end flat (Updates to close)
By Devik Jain and Medha Singh
April 23 (Reuters) - London's blue-chip stocks were little changed on Friday but finished the week lower as growing concerns over a surge in global coronavirus cases eclipsed optimism from recent data pointing to a rapid UK economic rebound.
The exporter-heavy index .FTSE ended the session flat, with a fall in heavyweight energy shares and large dollar earning companies including Diageo DGE.L , AstraZeneca AZN.L and Reckitt Benckiser Group RKT.L weighing on the index.
Latest data showed a deluge of new orders swept through British businesses in April as the country lifted some COVID-19 restrictions. report comes on the heels of a survey showing consumer sentiment touching a 13-month high this month, and a report showing retail sales soared past expectations in March. this week's data – from PMIs to retail sales – suggests that the hit to first quarter GDP from the recent lockdowns has been milder than first thought, but also that we should be bracing for a strong, circa 5% bounce in economic activity during the second quarter," economists at ING wrote in a note.
The FTSE 100 has gained 7.4% so far this year on optimism that speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and constant policy support from the government would drive a stronger economic recovery.
However, it is set for its biggest weekly decline since the end of February as a recent spike in cases in parts of Asia has stoked fears of delayed global economic recovery.
The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC posted its first weekly drop in five.
Transport operator FirstGroup's shares FGP.L gained 4.4% after the company agreed to sell two North American bus businesses to EQT Infrastructure for $4.6 billion, including debt.
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.