British American Tobacco weighs on FTSE 100; PageGroup shines

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 fell on Friday, dragged lower by heavyweight British American Tobacco and banking stocks, although the blue-chip index was set for its best weekly performance since early-January on optimism about a recovery in the UK economy.

The index edged down 0.1%, with shares of the tobacco firm slipping 1.7% to the bottom of index after J.P. Morgan downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “overweight”.

However, the losses were limited by a rise in consumer discretionary stocks, with Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion adding 1.2% after Berenberg raised its price target on the stock.

For the week so far, the index is up nearly 3%, its biggest since the week ended Jan. 8.

The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index edged 0.1% higher, scaling a record high and on track for a third straight weekly gain.

Among stocks, global recruitment firm PageGroup jumped 8.2% after it reported higher first-quarter gross profit, helped by improvements in hiring in its EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions.

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