Energy, mining stocks push FTSE 100 higher; set for weekly gain

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Energy and mining stocks led the FTSE 100 higher on Friday on the back of higher commodity prices, setting up the blue-chip index for weekly gains following a boost from a dovish central bank policy in the previous session.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index <.ftse> rose 0.1% after jumping in the previous session as the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged near record lows.

Energy shares climbed 1.02%, while miners BHP Group, Anglo American and Rio Tinto gained between 0.4% and 1.2%.

Building materials business CRH was among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 after brokerage Berenberg raised its target price on the stock.

“The UK market is the cheapest market right now relative to its European peers and support from the BoE will just add to the market positive narrative,” said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Forte Securities.

A raft of monetary and fiscal stimulus has helped the FTSE 100 rise 27% since the UK’s second COVID-19 wave in October, but it has still underperformed its European peer, which gained 33% over the same period.

British consumer sentiment held at its highest level since the start of the pandemic this month, although households were less cheery about the economic outlook, a monthly survey from market research GfK showed.

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“British equities will remain steady as it goes but unless we see any of the heavyweight stocks perform really better, the FTSE 100 will hover around the 7,000 level,” added Temperton.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index eased 0.2%.

Travel stocks dropped 1.29% even as Britain was set to publish plans to allow fully vaccinated people travel unrestricted to all countries except those with the highest COVID-19 risk.

UDG Healthcare added 1.5% after it said private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) was considering raising its offer to buy the healthcare company to 1,080 pence per share.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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