Markets

Despite disappointing UK growth, FTSE closes up as pound tumbles

UK stocks closed up on Friday, with the FTSE 100 rallying 75 points over the course of the day to close at 7,492.

Despite a slump in the UKs GDP growth, the British equity index was buoyed by the continuing slide in the pound, which plummeted after the Office for National Statistics released its first quarter economic results.

The rapprochement between North and South Korea today likely also helped calm investors after weeks of geopolitical uncertainty.

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Among the days winners was Easy Jet, whose shares were up 1.4 per cent at 1606p.

“Easy Jets shares have been in a bullish trend since October 2016,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK. “From a technical point of view we have yet to see any signs of the positive move coming to an end.”

Shares in embattled retailer Carpetright also rallied after it entered a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) yesterday, closing up 6.4 per cent.

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Things were looking less positive across the pond, however. Although good results from Amazon and Microsoft helped push the Nasdaq slightly higher in early trading, weak reports from Exxon and other energy companies flattened gains on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading firm IG said: “A weak UK GDP reading continues to drive down sterling, working wonders for the FTSE 100, but over on Wall Street an early bounce is fading away, driving concerns that this latest bounce will wilt like all the others in 2018 so far.”

At noon local time, the Dow Jones was down 67 points, or 0.28 per cent, while the Nasdaq was down 14 points, or 0.2 per cent.

“Breadth remains weak across US indices, which adds to the feeling that the rally is running on thin air and may not have much left to it,” said Beauchamp. “Buyers need to step up, and soon, to avoid this rally turning into the latest selling opportunity.”

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