LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Set To Break 5-day Losing Run

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

GKN slumps after CEO designate ousted

U.K. stocks rose on Thursday, boosted by a round of well-received corporate updates and as buyers stepped into pick up shares after a five-session losing streak.

Continue Reading Below

On the economic docket, British retail sales fell less than expected in October, helping lift the pound against both the euro and dollar.

What markets are doing: The FTSE 100 index added 0.1% to 7,380.67, after ending at its lowest level since Sept. 28 on Wednesday ( following five straight sessions of losses.

The pound bought $1.3190, up from $1.3170 late Wednesday in New York. Against the euro, sterling strengthened to EUR1.1197 compared with EUR1.1170 on Wednesday.

What's driving the markets: Traders were encouraged by a positive trading day in Asia (, where Japan's Nikkei snapped a six-session losing streak.

A slight recovery in oil prices early on Thursday helped lift the FTSE's energy companies. West Texas Intermediate crude , however, erased its gain during the morning session, trading 0.1% lower at $55.26 a barrel. The contract settled at its lowest level in almost two weeks on Wednesday after data showed a surprise jump in U.S. stockpiles.

Shares of BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) rose 0.5%, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) climbed 0.2%.

The pound staged a turnaround to trade higher after the Office for National Statistics said retail sales slipped 0.3% on the year in October (, which was better than the 0.5% expected by economists, according to FactSet. Month-on-month sales rose 0.3%, beating the 0.1% forecast.

The report comes after data earlier this week showed the unemployment rate remained at 4.3% ( and wages rose 2.2% in the three months through September, while inflation stayed at a five-year high in October at 3% (

What strategists are saying: The positive start is "helped by fresh gains in Asia, shrugging off several days of losses that potentially puts an end to a commodity sector-inspired selloff, giving bulls some hope of a turnaround. Sentiment has been helped by oil finding support, offering respite to the key energy sector," said analysts at Accendo Markets in a note.

Stock movers: Shares of 3i Group PLC (III.LN) rose 2% after the international investment manager it is on track to deliver another strong year of growth in its private-equity portfolio.

British Land Co. PLC (BLND.LN) added 2% after the real-estate company said it swung to a first-half profit.

Prudential PLC (PRU.LN) rose 0.8% as the insurer said it continues to benefit from powerful demand drivers ( and its established platforms in Asia, the U.S., and the U.K. and Europe.

On a downbeat note, shares of GKN PLC (GKN.LN) slid 6.3% after the engineering group ousted its CEO designate Kevin Cummings amid problems at the aerospace unit he ran.

Mediclinic International PLC (MDC.LN) lost 2.4% after the private hospital company said it swung to a first-half pretax loss.

Outside the FTSE 100, Royal Mail PLC (RMG.LN) inched 0.3% higher after revenue rose in the first half (

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 16, 2017 05:39 ET (10:39 GMT)