LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index climbed to a 10-month high on Friday and recorded its biggest weekly rise in 4-1/2 years, as hopes of fresh Bank of England stimulus lent momentum to a rebound from the slump that followed last week’s Brexit vote.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE ended 1.1 percent higher at 6,577.83 points, rising for a fourth straight session. The benchmark index rose 7.2 percent this week, the biggest weekly advance since late 2011.
After Britain’s shock vote last week to leave the European Union triggered a sharp fall, the FTSE 100 has rebounded strongly, led higher by dollar earners and commodity stocks, which are insulated from uncertainty over the domestic economy.
That has more than made up losses in the wake of the vote, with the index closing at its highest level since August 2015. The FTSE 100 is up 5.4 percent so far this year, outperforming the pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX, down 9 percent.
“It’s been a tumultuous week in the markets, full of price swings and contrasting fortunes,” said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“In the midst of the uncertainty that exists, it’s easy to overlook the positive effects a lower pound will have on the stock market. Exporters will become more competitive, and UK companies with international revenues are likely to see a boost to their earnings.” Sterling was trading at a three-year low against a basket of currencies on Friday.
Banks remained in favour after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Thursday that the central bank would probably need to pump more stimulus into Britain’s economy over the summer after the shock of the Brexit vote.
The sector was also helped by a Bloomberg report saying the Bank of England planned to reverse a decision to increase banks’ capital requirements because of the expected hit to Britain’s economy from the referendum.
Analysts said the prospect of stimulus in the UK that might put further pressure on the pound would support the FTSE 100 index, which has high international exposure, and make stocks a relatively attractive asset.
“The future does look bright for the FTSE 100 as possible rate cuts are back on table. If cuts do materialise then the lower cost of debt could help boost companies’ investment plans, which they may have put on the back burner after Brexit,” said Nathan Sage, analyst at PhillipCapital UK.
The referendum has spurred appetite for safe-haven metals, and gold was headed for a fifth weekly gain in a row, while silver hit a 22-month high.
Editing by Catherine Evans
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