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Weaker sterling pushes FTSE higher

The FTSE 100 took advantage of a weaker pound against the dollar following disappointing UK retail sales data, helping the blue-chip index climb 0.8% to 7,294.

UK retail sales suffered its slowest growth since April 2017 in January. According to the Office for National Statistics, sales growth came in at 0.1%.

Utilities were strong with Severn Trent (SVT) rising 2% to £17.38 and British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) sparking 1.4% higher to 128.1p.

Brent crude oil increased 0.8% to $64.87 per barrel.


Wall Street was stable on Friday with the S&P 500 advancing 0.4% to 2,743 around 4:45pm UK time.


It was a good day for industrial properties landlord Segro (SGRO) following a 26% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to £194m, supported by a shortage of warehouse space in the face of high demand. Its shares climbed 6.5% to 591.2p.

Construction firm Balfour Beatty (BBY) announced the LAX Integrated Express Solutions consortium, which it owns 27% of, won a £1.4bn contract. The company said the contact is to build a train network at Los Angeles International Airport, helping the stock rise 1.9% to 278.5p.

Miner Rio Tinto (RIO) reported it was told by the Mongolian authorities to find a domestic power source for a $5.3bn expansion at the Oyu Tolgoi mine by 2022. Investors took the news in its stride as the stock was flat at £41.02 despite setting aside $250m a year in 2019 and 2020 for the development of a new power station.


Vet services provider CVS (CVSG) delivered a line set of results but its shares came under pressure on discounted fundraising to pay down debt and fund acquisitions for the future growth. Shares in CVS fell 8.2% to £11.20.

Agrichemical firm Plant Impact (PIM) received a takeover bid of 10.57p per share from Croda (CRDA), which valued the former at approximately £10m. Plant Impact soared 71.7% to 10.09p.

Remaining in the chemicals sector, Haike (HAIK) reported it wants to delist from AIM and offered investors an exit facility at 30p per share, triggering a 41.9% rally in the shares to 26.2p.

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