- UK PMIs hit highest since Nov. 2013
- FirstGroup jumps on $4.6 billion sale of two U.S. units
- Mid-cap stocks snap four week winning streak
- FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 end flat
April 23 (Reuters) - London's blue-chip stockswere little changed on Friday but finished the week lower as growing concerns over a surge in global coronavirus cases eclipsed optimism from recent data pointing to a rapid UK economic rebound.
The exporter-heavy index (.FTSE) ended the session flat, with a fall in heavyweight energy shares and large dollar earning companies including Diageo (DGE.L), AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT.L) weighing on the index.
Latest data showed a deluge of new orders swept through British businesses in April as the country lifted some COVID-19 restrictions. read more
The report comes on the heels of a survey showing consumer sentiment touching a 13-month high this month, and a report showing retail sales soared past expectations in March. read more
"Collectively this week's data – from PMIs to retail sales – suggests that the hit to first quarter GDP from the recent lockdowns has been milder than first thought, but also that we should be bracing for a strong, circa 5% bounce in economic activity during the second quarter," economists at ING wrote in a note.
The FTSE 100 has gained 7.4% so far this year on optimism that speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and constant policy support from the government would drive a stronger economic recovery.
However, it is set for its biggest weekly decline since the end of February as a recent spike in cases in parts of Asia has stoked fears of delayed global economic recovery.
The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index (.FTMC) posted its first weekly drop in five.
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