By Dave Morris
London markets cruised to a positive end to the week on encouraging U.S.-China trade news.
How did markets perform?
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.71% was up 0.1% to 7,404.9 Friday, continuing a calm market week of gentle increases interrupted only by Thursday’s 0.2% drop.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.0310% was $1.309, 0.1% higher on Friday after closing Thursday down 0.6%.
What’s moving the markets?
Chinese Premier Liu He said trade talks with the U.S. had produced a “new consensus”, and U.S. President Donald Trump gave a rough timeline of six weeks before the deal could be completed, though he cited several issues left to be settled such as intellectual property. Bloomberg reported Friday that the U.S. had agreed not to seek to impose penalties for violations of the agreement until 2025, suggesting much of the compromise may have been on the American side of the negotiating table.
European Council President Donald Tusk said that if the U.K. Parliament ratifies a Brexit deal, he would support a “flexible” extension into 2020, past the current April 11 deadline. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, formally requested an extension to June 30, 2019. With cross-party Brexit talks continuing behind closed doors, and the U.K.’s senior chamber the House of Lords debating a bill seeking to force the Prime Minister to request an extension to the process from European leaders, Brexit watchers prepared to strap in for another week of ineffectual, noisy wrangling on both sides of the English Channel.
Which stocks are active?
U.K. restaurant chain owners Berkeley Group Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/202576163/delayed UK:BKG -0.60% rose 1.2% after the Wagamama owner issued positive guidance, indicating sales had risen 2.8% in the past 10 weeks.
Commercial services firms led the declines, with U.K. security company G4S PLC /zigman2/quotes/202248409/delayed UK:GFS +1.41% down 1.5% and U.K. outsourcing company Capita PLC /zigman2/quotes/204738740/delayed UK:CPI 0.00% also down 1.5%.