Sun, Aug 26, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Miners, oil firms prop up FTSE, STOXX 600 rises

Reuters, LONDON

Britain’s major stock index rose on Friday, propped up by Shire PLC and commodity sectors as investors digested a speech by the US Fed chief and the lack of a breakthrough in US-China trade talks.

After a sluggish start to the session, the index climbed and ended with a gain of 0.2 percent at 7,577.49 points, with Shire and Antofagasta PLC among the top gainers.

The FTSE inched to a 0.3 percent weekly rise in a week the British government set out plans for a possible no-deal Brexit and as sterling hovered near 11-month lows against the euro.

The pan-European STOXX 600 on Friday inched up to 383.6, rising 0.5 percent for the week.

The trade war was still front and center of investors’ minds after inconclusive talks between US and Chinese officials, and focus turned to a speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at which Powell reaffirmed the bank’s rate hike policy.

Powell’s comments weighed on the US dollar, which in turn boosted commodity prices.

Among miners, Antofagasta shares were also buoyed 3.6 percent after Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) upgraded it to “outperform” and as London copper prices recovered.

“We expect the shares to regain a premium valuation over the coming months possibly enhanced by its copper exposure, which has significantly underperformed iron ore by 10 percent year-to-date,” RBC analysts wrote.

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP PLC both gained about 1 percent after a Norwegian government-appointed commission ruled that Norway’s sovereign wealth fund should stay invested in energy stocks.

Shire shares rose 2 percent after the US Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its-kind drug, Takhzyro, to treat patients with a rare hereditary disease.

The approval was largely expected, UBS AG said, but it was still a relief for the market that perceived the drug as very important for Shire’s potential acquisition by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

“With this morning’s announcement from Shire, the nerves should evaporate,” UBS wrote.

Housebuilders Persimmon PLC, Berkeley Group Holdings PLC, Barratt Developments PLC and Taylor Wimpey PLC were among the worst-performing after data showed mortgage approvals fell last month, despite appetite for remortgaging ahead of an expected Bank of England rate rise.

On the FTSE 250, travel operator On The Beach Group PLC was the top gainer after Berenberg Equity Research upped its price target on the stock, praising its model of not speculatively pre-buying hotel beds or plane seats.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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