FTSE makes gains with European markets mixed as EU summit starts

The FTSE 100 consolidated its gains on Friday afternoon as the much-awaited EU summit to discuss a rescue package kicked off.

Sentiment was broadly mixed across the major markets as uncertainty of second lockdowns in some cities weighed on the minds of traders during a largely quiet session.

London’s top flight closed 39.61 points higher at 6,290.3p at the end of trading on Friday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Market UK said: “It was a quiet trading session as the much-awaited EU summit to discuss the rescue fund began.

“The eurozone was already lagging behind the UK and the US in terms of economic health before the pandemic stuck, so if action isn’t taken quickly, that is likely to add to its problems.”

The major European markets were mixed as a result, with the French Cac 40 taking a tumble and the German Dax increasing by 0.41%.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones was largely flat, while the S&P 500 dipped as it was impacted by recent negativity regarding tech stocks.

Meanwhile, sterling fell as Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, cautioned about an uneven recovery in the UK economy.

The pound fell 0.07% versus the US dollar at 1.254 and was down 0.52% against the euro at 1.097.

Multinational pharmaceutical firms pushed higher as they continued to see their share value strengthen during the health crisis, with AstraZeneca, Hikma and GlaxoSmithKline all rising.

In company news, Rio Tinto saw shares close in the green despite the commodities giant reporting a 3% drop in the amount of copper it managed to dig out of the ground in the second quarter of the financial year.

Chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said the company delivered a “strong performance” in the second quarter despite the impact of the virus. Shares closed 118p higher at 4,941p as a result.

Elsewhere, British Airways owner IAG slipped after its UK-based airliner said it has retired its fleet of Boeing 747s with immediate effect.

BA was planning to ground its fleet of 31 jumbo jets in 2024 but the end has been hastened by coronavirus. Shares in the parent firm slid by 5.2p to 218.9p at the close of play.

HomeServe saw shares rise after it said customers have continued to renew their policies as normal despite the pandemic ripping large chunks out of many other businesses.

The house repairs business closed 47p higher at 1,350p after it said its membership business performed in line with usual trading patterns during the period April to mid-July.

Engineering parts firm Renishaw surged 450p higher to 4,880p after it raised its annual revenue forecast.

The price of oil drifted slightly lower as the negative sentiment from Thursday continued to linger.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil decreased by 0.18 to 43.2 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, up 47.5p at 1,091.5p, AstraZeneca, up 343p at 9,187p, Homeserve, up 47p at 1,350p, and BHP, up 50p at 1,799.4p.

The biggest fallers of the day were WPP, down 16p at 608.2p, ITV, down 1.68p at 66.82p, IAG, down 5.2p at 218.9p, and Barclays, down 2.18p at 116.4p.

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