LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 On Course For Fresh Record As Pound Stutters

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Services-sector data exceeds expectations

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U.K. stocks rose Friday, with the blue-chip benchmark on course to set a new record, as a recent sharp drop for the pound continued to reverberate through the market.

The move higher sets the FTSE 100 on track for a weekly advance.

What markets are doing: The FTSE 100 index was up 0.3% at 7,575.87, above its record close of 7,556.24 on Oct. 12. All sectors moved higher. On Thursday, the index jumped 0.9%. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-fails-to-find-purchase-as-traders-brace-for-bank-of-england-2017-11-02)

For the week, a gain of 0.9% appeared likely, after two weeks of declines.

The pound on Friday traded around early-September lows. It bought $1.3058, a touch lower from $1.3058 late Thursday in New York. On Thursday, sterling tumbled 1.4% against the dollar, the largest percentage loss since June 9, FactSet data showed.

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Against the euro, sterling bought EUR1.1216 versus EUR1.1201 in the previous session.

What's moving markets: The struggling pound continued to boost U.K. stocks, as roughly 75% of revenue for FTSE 100 listed multinational companies is generated in foreign currencies, according to FactSet data.

Sterling slid after the Bank of England's rate decision, inflation report and minutes were released Thursday. The U.K. central bank hiked its key interest rate for the first time in 10 years, but also sounded unlikely to rush to make another raise quickly.

See:BOE delivers a 'typical dovish hike'--analysts react to historic U.K. rate rise (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/boe-delivers-a-typical-dovish-hike-analysts-react-to-historic-uk-rate-rise-2017-11-02)

Stock movers: Among multinational companies, shares of miner Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) rose 1.6%, equipment supplier Ashtead Group PLC (AHT.LN) picked up 1% and spirits maker Diageo PLC (DEO) gained 0.9%.

IAG (IAG.LN) shares turned lower and fell 0.9%. They had been up earlier after the air carrier raised its earnings and other long-term targets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/british-airways-parent-iag-lifts-earnings-target-2017-11-03).

Economic docket: A reading on services-sector activity for October came in at 55.6, above the 53.3 expected in a FactSet consensus estimate.

The widely watched monthly U.S. jobs report will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2017 05:42 ET (09:42 GMT)