The FTSE 100 and European stocks were higher this Friday as in the UK investors shrugged off weak retail figures.
Across the pond, Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street, keeping the market on track for a losing week as Netflix (NFLX) kicked off the earnings season for the growth sector.
The FTSE 100 was higher despite data showing an unexpected fall in retail sales before Christmas, as well as retailers suffering the worst annual decline on record last year.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: "UK markets continued to fly the flag, dodging the recessionary bullet fears for the time being. The FTSE 100 was buoyed by a return to risk-on behaviour, with the miners and oils especially in demand."
SSE (SSE.L) was one the top risers, gaining 2% after it raised its annual earnings forecast helped by strong market conditions. British Gas owner Centrica (CNA.L) has done the same as energy prices soar, in a blow to UK households struggling with the cost of living.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “The FTSE 100 was lifted by oil producers, miners, banks and utility companies. Investors noted price strength among major commodities which would support earnings for natural resources producers” he noted, adding “Brent Crude oil rose by 1% to $87.02 per barrel while copper this week hit its highest level since June 2022 on hopes for an increase in demand linked to China’s reopening and amid low inventories."
The pound (GBPUSD=X) fell sharply after data showing shoppers unexpectedly spent less in December in the UK. Sterling dropped 0.23% against the dollar towards $1.23.
Meanwhile, Brent crude (BZ=F) rose and was trading at around $86/barrel, driven by brightening economic prospects for China which should boost fuel demand in the world's second-biggest economy.
In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 (^N225) closed higher, climbing 0.56% to 26,553 points, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) in Hong Kong gained 1.72% to 22,023. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) also edged higher, rising 0.76% to 3,264 points.
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