Defensive stocks lead rebound in FTSE 100

A man shelters under an umbrella as he walks past the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo/File Photo

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  • FTSE 100 set to snap 3-week losing streak
  • British retail sales dip in May
  • Consumer confidence in the UK hits record low
  • FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 add 1.2% each

June 24 (Reuters) – UK’s FTSE 100 rose on Friday, lifted by defensive stocks at the end of a choppy week that saw investor anxiety over hawkish central banks, weak economic readings and heightened risks of a global recession.

The blue-chip index (.FTSE) climbed 1.2%, with healthcare and consumer staples stocks that tend to decouple from economic cycles, rising the most. The domestically focussed FTSE 250 (.FTMC) also rose 1.2%.

The FTSE 100 was set to snap a three-week run of losses, while the mid-cap index was on pace for its fourth consecutive weekly decline.

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Data showed British retail sales volumes slid by 0.5% in May, showing that consumers cut back on shopping in the face of rapid inflation last month, and an increase in sales in April was revised down sharply. read more

A separate data showed consumer confidence in the UK hit a record low this month. read more

“It is not just the rising bills of today that are worrying us, it is the prospect of even higher bills tomorrow, and fears of a looming recession, which might cause our finances to unravel entirely,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sarah Coles said.

Adding to worries, Boris Johnson’s Conservatives lost two parliamentary seats on Friday, a crushing blow to the governing party that has intensified doubts about the future of Britain’s prime minister. read more

Among stocks, Ultra Electronics (ULE.L) gained 12.6% after Britain moved forward on approving the acquisition of the defence firm by rival Cobham, after having raised security concerns over the planned transaction. read more

Shares of GSK rose 1.5% after French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA) said the vaccine against the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which the two companies worked on jointly, had proved effective. read more

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Reporting by Boleslaw Lasocki in Gdansk; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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