LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Break 2-day Losing Streak After Pound's Mini 'flash Crash'

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Hikma Pharmaceuticals slide after cutting revenue guidance

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U.K. stocks rose for the first time in three sessions on Friday, boosted by a mini "flash crash" in the pound and a rebound in U.S. and Asian equities overnight.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.4% to 7,467.18, swinging back into positive territory for the week. The benchmark on Thursday slid 0.9%, weighed by a pop in the pound above $1.30 and fears that controversies surrounding the White House would derail U.S. President Donald's pro-growth agenda.

"Unlike Tuesday to Thursday, which saw a parade of heavy-hitting U.K. data, this morning's economic calendar is rather barren," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in a note.

"That leaves investors free to mull over Trump's various misdeeds, and whether or not they want to get back on board a set of Western indices that, in the grand scheme of things, haven't travelled too far from their highs," he added.

However, the Washington concerns appeared to be bit on the back burner for now and investors instead focused on a sharp slump in the pound that happened late Thursday. Sterling suddenly plunged below $1.29 from as high as $1.3048 earlier in the day in what traders described as mini "flash crash."

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"Particularly against the dollar, the pound was already looking a little unstable around $1.30 and yesterday's mini crash has done little to convince me otherwise. We've seen a lot of consolidation in the pair overnight, I wonder whether we'll see one more burst before the week is out," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in a note.

The pound recovered parts of lost territory in Friday's trade, fetching $1.2971 compared with $1.2943 late Friday in New York.

A positive tone coming from U.S. markets on Thursday also helped spur an upbeat mood in Friday's session in Europe. After logging their worst loss since September, U.S. stocks on Thursday closed higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fragile-start-ahead-for-us-stocks-as-political-concerns-weigh-heavy-2017-05-18) as positive economic data offered a glimmer of optimism. Asia also ended mostly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asia-pacific-stocks-stabilize-after-uneasy-week-of-trading-2017-05-18).

Movers: Shares of Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (HIK.LN) slid 5.7% after the drugmaker cut its 2017 revenue guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hikma-cuts-revenue-guidance-for-2017-2017-05-19) due to a delay in the launch of the generic version of GlaxoSmithKline PLC's (GSK.LN) (GSK.LN) Advair Diskus this year.

Energy companies were also rising as oil prices climbed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/optimism-ahead-of-opec-meeting-drives-further-gains-for-oil-2017-05-19) on optimism major oil producers will agree to extend production cuts at the closely watched Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting next week. Shares of BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) added 0.7% and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) gained 0.3%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 19, 2017 04:24 ET (08:24 GMT)