FTSE 100 bounces on Barclays earnings, but set for second weekly loss

A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in London. ― Reuters pic
A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in London. ― Reuters pic

LONDON, Oct 23 — London’s FTSE 100 jumped today after Barclays’ Q3 profit beat expectations and data showed British retail sales grew in September, but the blue-chip index was set for weekly losses on concerns over fresh coronavirus restrictions.

The FTSE 100 index rose 1.1 per cent, with shares in the British lender jumping 6.5 per cent as its consumer businesses swung back to profit and provisions against bad loans fell in the third quarter.

The wider banks sub-index added 4.3 per cent, with gains in energy, mining and industrial stocks also helping UK markets outperform their European peers.

The domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index gained 1.0 per cent, led by a 4.9 per cent surge in shares of digital services company Kainos Group Plc after Berenberg upgraded the stock to “buy”.

Fears about new coronavirus-led curbs and Brexit trade deal-related uncertainty have weighed on UK markets, with the FTSE 100 being on course for its second straight weekly decline.

While data showed British retail sales grew for a fifth month in a row and beat expectations last month, a separate survey showed Britain’s economic recovery lost more momentum in October as a resurgence of the pandemic hit businesses.

“While retail is unlikely to be as badly affected as other sectors by the Covid-19 resurgence, the deteriorating outlook is nevertheless another reason to think the post-lockdown recovery in the UK’s economic activity has reached its limit.” said ING economist James Smith.

“All of this will add further pressure to the overall GDP figures over the winter.”

Meanwhile, the chief negotiators of Britain and the European Union will meet on Friday for intensive negotiations on a last-minute trade deal that could stave off a tumultuous finale to the five-year-old Brexit crisis.

Shares of InterContinental Hotels Group Plc slipped 0.6 per cent after the Holiday Inn-owner posted a plunge in third-quarter hotel room revenue (RevPAR). — Reuters

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