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Consumer staples lift UK’s FTSE 100 to fourth week of gains


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 inched higher on Friday, adding to a weekly gain that would be its fourth in a row, as consumer staples and financial stocks advanced, while private equity firm Bridgepoint Group helped mid-caps eke out gains.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.3%, with Reckitt Benckiser Group climbing 2% after Barclays (LON:BARC) raised its price target on the Lysol cleaning products maker’s stock.

Homebuilders, miners and banks rose about 1% each, while Dove soap maker Unilever (LON:ULVR) climbed 1.5% to provide the biggest boost to the index.

Oil majors BP (LON:BP) Plc and Shell (LON:RDSa) Plc were mixed after opening sharply lower on volatile crude prices. [O/R]

“I don’t think that the actual rally in equity prices is sustainable. But I still believe that the FTSE 100 is in a better position to outperform the European and U.S. peers due to high exposure to energy and commodity prices,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote.

“For now, the best place to be in for investors is still oil- and energy-related investments, even though we may see a downside correction after such a strong rally over the past couple of weeks.”

The FTSE 100 has risen 2.1% so far this year, compared with a 6.2% drop in the pan-European STOXX 600 and a 4.9% fall in the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index.

The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.5% on Friday, with Bridgepoint Group gaining 3.6% after Citigroup (NYSE:C) upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral”.

Barclays Plc added 1.4% after a proposed multi-billion pound claim brought by thousands of asset managers, pension funds and financial institutions against major banks over alleged foreign exchange rigging was blocked by a London court.

Sportswear and fashion group Frasers gained 2.8% after announcing a new 70 million pound share buyback plan.

Meanwhile, European buyers of Russian gas faced a deadline to start paying in roubles on Friday, while negotiations aimed at ending the five-week war were set to resume even as Ukraine braced for further attacks in the south and east.

FTSE 100 rises on consumer staples boost, Bridgepoint leads mid-caps higher

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