The top-flight index saw its gains pared back after US jobs figures missed expectations, although some retail stocks made strong progress ahead of a raft of trading updates due next week.
Traders said recent strong data had many investors believing the jobs report would beat estimates of 231,000, but the figure came in at 214,000, even though the US unemployment rate fell to a fresh six-year low.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “Non-farm payrolls were not as bullish as had been suggested by reports earlier in the week, giving a gloomy tone to the Friday open for US indices, but a drop in the unemployment rate helped to counter the pessimism.”
The FTSE 100 Index, which touched a session high of more than 6,600, managed to end the day in positive territory with a gain of 16.09 points at 6,567.24.
Among the strongest risers was SuperGroup, owner of the Superdry fashion brand, which soared 63p, or 7.7 per cent, to 882p. Ted Baker, which is due to deliver a third-quarter trading update on Thursday, was not far behind with a rise of 7.1 per cent, or 139p, to 2,090p.
Supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsbury’s were up 3 per cent at one stage before Tesco settled back to finish 2.95p higher at 184.45p, while Sainsbury’s ended the day down 0.6p at 261.6p. Mike Coupe, the new boss of Sainsbury’s, is expected to give details of a wide-ranging strategic review alongside half-year results on Wednesday.
The FTSE 100 fallers were led by insurers after Admiral became the latest to highlight competitive trading conditions. It said prices in the UK market appear to be stabilising after a period of rapid deflation but added that trading at its Confused.com business has been weaker in the current half year due to “highly competitive” conditions. Admiral shares were down 3.5 per cent at 1,215p, while More Than owner RSA fell 3 per cent to 446.2p.