UK's FTSE 100 index closes flat, logs third-straight weekly gain

A broker looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index trading floor in London, Britain February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Files
  • AJ Bell gains on rating upgrade
  • ASOS falls after interim CFO leaves
  • U.S. jobs data stronger than expected
  • FTSE 100 flat, FTSE 250 off 0.2%

Dec 2 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 index was subdued on Friday as gains in financials and consumer staple stocks were offset by losses in oil majors BP and Shell, and stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data also depressed sentiment after a strong week.

The blue-chip index (.FTSE) closed flat. It rose 0.9% for the week, its third straight weekly win. The domestically-focused FTSE 250 (.FTMC) index ended 0.2% lower.

BP (BP.L) and Shell (SHEL.L) dipped 1.7% and 0.7%, respectively, as crude prices were mixed.

Weighing on the mood, data showed U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in November and increased wages despite mounting worries of a recession, increasing the likelihood central banks will continue to raise rates.

"Today's jobs report shows that there's still some way to go before central banks can allow the market to ease financial conditions for them," said Andrea Cicione, Head of Strategy at TS Lombard.

British businesses reported easing price pressures, but warned of lower employment and investment, in a Bank of England survey on Thursday that should reassure policymakers that their interest rate rises are taking effect.

The FTSE 100 has gained more than 12% since its October lows as the British government's new leadership tries to restore confidence in the economy after a mini budget raised concerns about fiscal policy and rattled markets.

Among single stocks, Primark-owner AB Foods (ABF.L) jumped 5% to top the FTSE 100 index after two positive brokerage actions.

AJ Bell (AJBA.L) climbed 8.3% as Jefferies upgraded the investment platform's stock to "buy" from "hold".

Shares of eastern Mediterranean-focused oil and gas producer Energean (ENOG.L) slid 8.3% on institutional seller's discounted share sale.

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Barbara Lewis

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