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London’s top-flight stocks bounce back despite trade worries

China has said it will impose tariffs on 60 billion dollars of US imports.


The FTSE 100 has had a mixed week (PA)

The FTSE 100 has had a mixed week (PA)

The FTSE 100 has had a mixed week (PA)

London’s top-flight stocks are bouncing back after a torrid few days of trading, despite China’s warning that it has kick-started preparations for a trade war with the US.

China said it will retaliate to tariffs from the US with tariffs on imports of 60 billion dollars (£46 billion) worth of US imports.

The FTSE 100 pushed ahead regardless and was up by as much as 1.1% or 83.17 points to 7,659.1 over the session.

However, this was shy of the 7,700 mark the index broke last week.

Continental indices were on the rise as well, with the Cac 40 in France up by 0.31% and the Dax in Germany climbing 0.42%.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: “It helps that the pound is in such a miserable state, sterling spending the day sporadically ducking under 1.30 dollars following July’s disappointing services PMI and Mark Carney’s threat that chances of a no-deal Brexit are ‘uncomfortably high’.”

Sterling, which slid yesterday despite the Bank of England’s rate rise, was broadly flat against the dollar at 1.301. Against the euro, the currency was also flat, at 1.123.

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Brent crude was down 1% at 72.620 US dollars a barrel after a volatile week that saw traders worry about oversupply in the market when data showed high level of oil inventories in the US.

Royal Bank of Scotland announced its first dividend in 10 years as it started to put some of its legacy issues to rest.

The high street bank – which is still around 62%-owned by the taxpayer – reported £888 million in attributable bottom-line profits for the half-year to June 30, down from £939 million a year earlier. The interim dividend will be 2p per share.

The return of the dividend helped lift shares 3% or 7.7p to 257.8p, making the lender one of the top risers on the FTSE 100.

British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) posted forecast-beating results, but warned about the impact of strike action, pushing shares 15.2p lower by the close to 669.8p.

In the six months to June 30, operating profit, before accounting for exceptional items, was up 17.4% to 1.12 billion euros (£1 billion).

Total revenue rose 3.1% to 11.2 billion euros.

Betting firm William Hill swung to a half-year loss as it took a hit on UK Government plans to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to just £2.

The company reported a bottom line pre-tax loss of £819.6 million for the six months to June 26, having reported a profit of £93.1 million during the same period last year. Shares slumped by more than 8%, closing 23.7p lower at 268.6p.

Heavily-shorted Pets at Home surprised investors on Friday with a lift in sales, having progressed with a new strategy under its new chief executive Peter Pritchard.

Pets at Home’s group revenue was £277.4 million for the period between March 30 and July 19, with retail revenue rising 6.9% to £245 million and vet revenue jumping 18.4% to £32.4 million.

On a like-for-like basis, retail sales were up 6.1% while vet sales grew by 13.6%. Shares jumped 11.4% or 12.9p to 126p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Mondi up 164p to 2,236p, Rolls-Royce up 36p to 1,094p, Royal Bank of Scotland up 7.7p to 257.8p and Segro up 17.4p to 670p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were International Airlines Group down 15.2p, BAE Systems down 8.6p to 625p, Sky down 6.5p to 1,513p and GVC Holdings down 3p to 1,132p.