LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Swing Higher As Pound Falters After Trio Of Disappointing Data

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

FTSE 100 on course for weekly rise

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U.K. stocks erased earlier losses and swung higher on Friday after the pound was beaten down following a trio of disappointing data.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.2% to 7,338.83, after trading as low as 7,314.69 earlier in the day. The benchmark was moving toward a rise of 0.6% for the week, the first week of trade in the second half of 2017.

The FTSE had opened in negative territory as investors were spooked by growing signs that global central banks are inching closer to unwinding their ultraloose monetary policies that have supported stock markets in recent years.

However, the U.K. benchmark started to head north after industrial production, manufacturing and the trade balance all disappointed and sent the pound sharply lower. Sterling bought $1.2899, down from $1.2970 late Thursday in New York. A weaker currency tends to benefit the FTSE 100 as about 75% of revenues are generated overseas.

"Where to begin? Manufacturing and industrial production unexpectedly contracted by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, the former hurt by a slump in car production, the latter missing forecasts for a 4th consecutive month," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in a note.

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"None of this helped dispel the idea that the UK economy is faltering, news that took a toll on an already limp sterling," he added.

The pound stayed lower after the highly anticipated U.S. jobs report showed 222,000 jobs were added to the economy in June (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-ahead-of-top-tier-jobs-report-2017-07-07). The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 4.3% as more people started looking for work.

Stock movers: Shares of easyJet PLC (EZJ.LN) climbed 4.5% after Credit Suisse raised its rating on the budget airline to outperform from neutral.

On the FTSE 250 index , shares of Aveva Group PLC (AVV.LN) gained 1.4% after the engineering softmaker company said it made a solid start to fiscal 2018 and that its full-year outlook remains in line with expectations.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 07, 2017 09:09 ET (13:09 GMT)