London’s FTSE 100 finished Friday’s trading session broadly flat, off a mere 0.03% at 7,123.27 points, despite a stronger than expected jobs report in the US which confirmed that the world’s biggest economy continues to heal at a steady clip.
The FTSE 250 closed 0.6% to the good at 22,747 points.
AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson said the slightly less celebratory mood in London might be due to investors being distracted by the weekend of sport ahead.
‘The more domestic focussed FTSE 250 was the more successful of the two big indices today and those hospitality businesses among their number will take heart that the biggest job creation in the US has come from their sector and the US is slightly further along the recovery road,’ said Hewson.
‘The week has been something of a roller coaster and the rest of the month looks set to remain turbulent beginning with the wait for a decision on oil production from OPEC+ which is still in the balance. Recovery is hard, it comes with a great number of changes which will be painful for some and profitable for others. Change is gonna come and it’s coming quickly.’
GLAXO GIVES SUPPORT
In corporate news, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) responded to demands from activist investor Elliott which questioned if CEO Emma Walmsley was the right person to lead the company once it separates the consumer healthcare arm.
The FTSE 100 pharma group gave its full support for Walmsley, though the shares ended broadly flat at £14.38.
Fellow consumer heavyweights Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) and Unilever (ULVR) edged higher, although UK banks dragged on the index with Standard Chartered (STAN), HSBC (HSBA) and Lloyds (LLOY) all ending Friday’s session in negative territory.
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) rose 1.7% to 985p, despite revealing after the close yesterday that the chair of its remuneration committee would leave the board following a shareholder rebellion over management pay at Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer.
COMPANY NEWS WRAP
Building materials distributor group Grafton (GFTU) gained 1.9% to £12.38 after it completed the previously announced acquisition of Isojoen Konehalli and Jokapaikka.
Omega Diagnostics (ODX:AIM), the medical diagnostics company focused on infectious diseases and food intolerance, improved 0.9% to 54.5p after announcing that its technology partner Mologic has filed a submission to the US Food and Drug Administration for its rapid point-of-care Covid-19 antigen test.
Drug discovery company E-therapeutics (ETX:AIM) ended 4.4% lower at 21.5p despite news it has met a key milestone in its collaboration with Galapagos NV, paving the way for the company to receive a milestone payment.
Staying in the healthcare space, pharmaceutical company Diurnal (DNL:AIM) added 1.9% to 65.5p after saying that the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has granted a marketing authorisation to the company’s hydrocortisone capsules to treat adult and adolescent patients suffering with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
Computer games maker Team17 (TM17:AIM) rallied 4.1% to 760p after announcing that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the business and assets of StoryToys, via the acquisition of its parent company TouchPress.
And asset manager Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) finished 0.4% higher at £18.64 despite abandoning the flotation of its first ever investment trust, Liontrust ESG Trust, after failing to drum up enough investor support.