FTSE rises as RBS and Mondi gain
The UK's top share index climbed higher on Friday as cyclical stocks recovered thanks to a respite from trade and Brexit worries, while results from Mondi and RBS were well-received.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 (FTSE) index was up 0.4 percent at 7,606.09 points by 0844 GMT, though it was on track for its biggest weekly loss since March with a 1.2 percent slide.
This week fresh concerns over global trade marred sentiment, after U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up the pressure on China by proposing a higher 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
"(Trade) is certainly a concern among other concerns around the world. It's not one a global investor can particularly do much about - we're already seeing the impact in a number of companies' earnings," said James Clarke, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global. Certain industries are hurt more than others, he said, but a lot of those stocks have already been hit.
"Is that an opportunity or not? We're listening very carefully to this quarter's conference calls to see what is actually happening in these businesses," said Clarke.
On Thursday, while the Bank of England raised interest rates as expected, it signalled it was in no rush to raise them further before Britain's exit from the European Union next year with no clear plan.
Shares in RBS (L:RBS) jumped 2.7 percent and touched their highest level since the end of June after the bank reported half-year results.
Not only was attributable profit much better than the loss expected by analysts, but the bank announced its first dividend in a decade.
"RBS continues to take small steps, rather than large strides, but even so is demonstrating something of a return to health," Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, said in a note.
RBS' rise helped financials add the most points to the FTSE, while materials stocks also bounced back.
Mondi (L:MNDI) gained 5.6 percent after its results beat expectation.
However, shares in IAG (L:ICAG) were at the bottom of the index, down 3.8 percent after the British Airways owner's results came in below expectations. Strikes by French air traffic control weighed on IAG's second quarter operating profit.
Results were also in focus among mid-cap stocks as shares in William Hill (L:WMH) tumbled 7.7 percent.
The betting company posted a half-year loss and warned of more charges as it revamps its retail business due to tougher regulation at home