Friday market close: Weak growth data takes toll on FTSE 100

Trading screens in London. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Trading screens in London. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland soared after the embattled lender booked its first quarterly profit since 2015 in what chief executive Ross McEwan described as a “major milestone”.

The taxpayer-backed bank rose more than 4 per cent, or 12p, to 265.4p as it recorded a better-than-expected £259 million profit in the first three months of the year, compared with a £968m loss in the same quarter last year.

However, the wider FTSE 100 index struggled for momentum as the factors including weaker first quarter GDP figures took their toll. The latest update from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3 per cent in its initial estimate for the first quarter of 2017, down from 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. Barclays endured a torrid time as investors took a dim view of the lender’s first quarter results.

The banking giant said group pre-tax profit surged to £1.68 billion in the three months to 31 March, up from £793m during the same period last year.

However, the firm more than 5 per cent, or 11.7p, to 212.3p in response to a 4 per cent drop in income from its investment banking markets division to £1.35bn. Chief executive Jes Staley said the bank has nearly completed its overhaul, with only three more businesses to exit.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 included Antofagasta up 19.5p to 838p, Morrisons up 5.5p to 239.9p and International Consolidated Airlines Group up 11.5p to 560p. The biggest fallers included Mediclinic International down 38p to 821p, Royal Mail down 16.4p to 402.5p and Standard Chartered down 20.1p to 721.2p.

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