FURTHER cheer over the UK recovery helped maintain gains on the FTSE 100 Index after official figures revealed the economy grew by more than initially thought between April and June.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised growth in the second quarter to 0.7%, up from its first estimate of 0.6% expansion.
In light trading ahead of the UK bank holiday weekend, the FTSE 100 rose 12.5 points to 6459.4, having risen nearly 1% on Thursday on upbeat economic data from China and Europe.
America’s Dow Jones Industrial Average ended a six-day losing streak overnight, rising by 66 points, while the Nasdaq climbed 1.1% despite seeing trading halted for three hours due to a technical glitch.
Futures trading suggested the Dow Jones was heading for a slight fall today amid caution ahead of new homes sales data and with the US Federal Reserve’s conference in the spotlight.
Traders said progress was also being held back by ongoing concerns over the timing of Fed’s plans to taper quantitative easing (QE) after it failed to shed any light on them in minutes of its July meeting earlier this week.
Shavaz Dhalla, trader at Spreadex, said: “The trepidation is partly justified as officials themselves have not come to a unified agreement regarding the longevity of the stimulus measures.”
Among stocks, Carpetright was under pressure in the FTSE 250 Index after confirming it was one of six firms contacted by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as part of an investigation into misleading sale prices.
The group’s shares fell 9.25p to 661.25p as it said it was co-operating fully with the OFT and would respond to its concerns in due course.
CPP plunged another 13% - down 1.9p to 12.9p - after yesterday’s 27% tumble as the City regulator said the group and 13 high street lenders will fork out up to £1.3 billion in compensation for mis-sold credit card and identity theft protection.
The group remained firmly in the spotlight as its majority shareholder Hamish Ogston showed little remorse for the scandal.
Haulier Stobart Group was also in the red despite saying it had managed to overcome trading challenges after Britain’s erratic weather triggered swings in demand from its retail customers.
The FTSE 250 group, which runs a distinctive fleet of around 2,500 Eddie Stobart trucks, said it made solid progress, but shares fell 5% or 6p to 110.5p.