Industrial stocks, Inchcape pull British mid-caps higher

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the London Stock Exchange Group offices in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File photo

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 250 index edged higher on Friday, helped by gains in industrial stocks and Inchcape, while data showed retail sales fell in May as Britons dined out more following a lifting of pandemic restrictions.

The domestically focused mid-cap index advanced 0.3%, snapping its three-day losing streak. Among industrial stocks, Rotork Plc climbed 3.3% and was one of the biggest gainers after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to “overweight”.

Inchcape jumped 6.2% to the top of the index after the car dealership said its current-year earnings would beat market estimates, helped by an uptick in demand following the easing of pandemic-related restrictions.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index inched 0.1% lower as a fall in heavyweight oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell offset gains in large dollar-earning consumer staples companies including Unilever and Diageo on weaker pound. [GBP=]

Tesco fell 1.5% after Britain’s biggest retailer reported a sharp slowdown in underlying UK sales growth in its first quarter.

British retail sales fell unexpectedly by 1.4% last month as a lifting of lockdown restrictions encouraged spending in restaurants rather than shops.

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