(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 index edged higher on Friday, helped by gains in mining and healthcare stocks, while a record annual jump in domestic economic output in April strengthened views of a stronger recovery from the pandemic-driven disruption last year.
The blue-chip index rose 0.6%, with precious metal miners and base metal miners jumping 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively.
The index was up 0.8% for the week, its biggest percentage gain since the week ending May 7.
Pharmaceutical stocks also rose, with AstraZeneca leading the gains.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.3%.
Official data showed Britain’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic sped up in April as lockdown measures eased, and output was a record 27.6% higher than a year earlier when the virus was rampant.
In April alone, output rose by 2.3%, marking the fastest growth since July and helped by a rapid growth in the services sector.
“There is much to celebrate but there’s also a note of caution, we’ve been here before and we understand how fragile recovery can be and how quickly the pandemic can tilt the field,” said Danni Hewson, finance analyst at AJ Bell.
“The feeling is the recovery is lumpy and delays in lifting restrictions could make it even more bumpy.”
British indexes have gained more than 10% so far this year as businesses reopened and speedy vaccine rollouts boosted sentiment about economic recovery.
However, they have traded in a tight range since mid-April on concerns that a recent resurgence in domestic COVID-19 cases might delay a complete economic reopening.
Among other stocks, Sanne Group jumped 11.9% as it decided to enter into talks with Cinven after the private equity firm made a sweetened offer of 1.42 billion pounds ($2.01 billion) to buy the asset management services provider.
Robert Walters added 2.3% after it forecast upbeat annual pre-tax profit.
Auto Trader Group gained 1.5% after brokerages raised their price targets on the online car marketplace’s stock.
Events organiser Informa fell 1.3% after JP Morgan cut its price target on the stock.
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