By Barbara Kollmeyer
London’s leading U.K. stock market index rose on Friday, and was set for a weekly gain of nearly 1.4%.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.55% rose 0.4% to 7220.1, after snapping a four-session winning streak on Thursday. Gains were driven by healthcare and insurers while the oil and gas sectors weighed as energy prices /zigman2/quotes/209723049/delayed CL00 +1.25% remained under pressure on Friday. Shares of Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A +5.25% and BP /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +5.06% /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +1.11% fell 1% and 0.8%, respectively.
Gainers included insurer Prudential /zigman2/quotes/205760760/composite PUK +1.28% /zigman2/quotes/200530572/delayed UK:PRU -3.31% , which climbed 2.4%. Other gainers included aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings /zigman2/quotes/203646520/delayed UK:RR -0.55% and Melrose Industries /zigman2/quotes/210306391/delayed UK:MRO -2.08% , up around 1% each.
Other fallers included generics drug company Hikma Pharmaceuticals /zigman2/quotes/204872832/delayed UK:HIK -2.00% and real estate website operator Rightmove /zigman2/quotes/201303150/delayed UK:RMV -2.31% , down just over 1% each.
In the midcap FTSE 250 /zigman2/quotes/210598417/delayed UK:MCX -0.99% , the biggest gainer was Babcock International /zigman2/quotes/200965934/delayed UK:BAB +0.10% , which climbed 7% after the aerospace, defense and security company announced the disposal of engineering and technology solutions consulting group Frazer-Nash to KBR for a deal valued at £285 million ($395 million).
The largest midcap decliner was Avon Protection /zigman2/quotes/209664543/delayed UK:AVON -1.75% , which fell 24% after a trading update over COVID-19 related bottlenecks that have hit the timing and deliveries of some orders.
A team of analysts at Peel Hunt, led by Henry Carver, said they would be adjusting down 2021 and 2022 earnings, but maintain a buy rating on the manufacturer and provider of protective equipment, because “we believe the business is in great shape and the medium to long-term prospects remain compelling.”
A simmering battle for Vectura Group may have come to an end, after the U.K. inhaler maker said Thursday that its management intends to unanimously recommend to shareholders Philip Morris International’s /zigman2/quotes/201611010/composite PM +2.15% 165 pence ($2.29) a share bid for the company. That offer is a 10 pence premium to the final offer from competing bidder Carlyle Europe Partners V.
The British pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.2711% fetched $1.38330 versus the previous close of $1.3807.