© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man shelters under an umbrella as he walks past the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo/File Photo
(Reuters) – UK’s FTSE 100 rose on Friday, boosted by gains in defensive stocks at the end of a choppy week, which saw mounting fears around hawkish central banks, weak economic data and rising risks of a recession.
The blue-chip index inched up 0.4%, with healthcare stocks that tend to decouple from economic cycles, rising the most. The domestically focussed FTSE 250 was up 0.4%.
The FTSE 100 was set to end the week largely flat, while the mid-cap index was on pace for a weekly loss of 1%.
Data showed British retail sales volumes slid by 0.5% in May, showing that consumers cut back on shopping in the face of fast-rising inflation last month, and an increase in sales in April was revised down sharply.
Also, separate data showed consumer confidence in the UK hit a record low this month.
Among stocks, Ultra Electronics gained 12.6% after Britain moved forward on approving the acquisition of the defence firm by rival Cobham (LON:COB), after having raised security concerns over the planned transaction.
Defensive stocks lead rebound in FTSE 100