By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
Getty Images for Superdry
London stocks struggled on Friday, with upbeat news from Ryanair Holdings lifting airlines, but less cheery news on the retail front dragging on that sector.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.20% was flat at 7,598.42, after a week that is set to see the index slip 0.3%. The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.3456% was equally unchanged at $1.3076.
Global equities have endured a week of intense geopolitical headlines, though worries appeared to ease at the end of the week as tensions cooled between the U.S. and Iran and investors welcomed some encouraging news on the U.S.-China trade-war front. U.S. jobs data will be watched closely on Friday, with investors expecting jobs growth to continue, but at a slower pace.
Shares of Ryanair Holdings surged close to 7% after the cut-price airline lifted full-year guidance for fiscal 2020 due to a strong Christmas period. Those of rival easyJet /zigman2/quotes/202825892/delayed UK:EZJ -2.73% gained 3.2% and multinational airline holding company International Consolidated Airlines Group /zigman2/quotes/208070069/delayed UK:IAG -2.93% gained 3.7%.
Retailers were under pressure. Shares of FTSE 250 /zigman2/quotes/210598417/delayed UK:MCX -1.99% -listed B&M European Value Retail /zigman2/quotes/208742159/delayed UK:BME -1.95% tumbled 7.6% after the budget retailer said like-for-like sales at its core U.K. business were slower-than-expected over Christmas.
A profit warning for fashion house Superdry /zigman2/quotes/201492672/delayed UK:SDRY +5.56% sent those shares tumbling 14% on the FTSE 250.
“The fashion house had a strong Black Friday but the Christmas period was weak,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note to clients. He said group revenue fell 15.8% in the 10 weeks until early January, and the overall performance was so disappointing the firm now predicts that full-year underlying earnings will be between £0 and £10 million ($13 million).
Among other retail names, shares of Kingfisher /zigman2/quotes/200571451/delayed UK:KGF -2.42% dropped 2.8%, while J Sainsbury /zigman2/quotes/206038250/delayed UK:SBRY -1.18% slipped 2.2% and Tesco /zigman2/quotes/203761082/delayed UK:TSCO +0.50% and Wm Morrison Supermarkets dropped 1.7% each.