BANKING and financial stocks were the beneficiaries as a strong US jobs report edged the Fed closer to a historic first rate rise since the financial crisis.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “Asset managers gained, with Aberdeen leading the way, as broker upgrades boosted confidence. Given that European QE is scheduled to start in March, with firm positive implications for stock markets in the currency union, we can expect to see fund managers remain a favourite for some weeks to come.”
Aberdeen Asset Management enjoyed a 10.1p rise to 440.9p, but was pipped to the top spot by Barclays, up 6.65p or 2.7 per cent at 255.45p.
But with mining stocks still dragging, the FTSE 100 Index drifted 12.49 points lower to 6,853.44, falling further away from the four-and-a-month high reached earlier in the week.
GSK was higher after it disclosed that tests of its treatment for a strain of melanoma skin cancer achieved a significant reduction in the number of deaths.
Shares were up 17p to 1,517.5p in the week that the drugs giant disclosed that core operating profit for last year fell 6 per cent to £6.59 billion.
Outsourcing firm Capita added 15p to 1,158p after it was given approval by NHS England ahead of the selection of supply chain partners for new support services contracts.
Former blue-chip stock Tate & Lyle led the fallers in the FTSE 250 after it issued a fresh profits warning due to a weak performance from its bulk ingredients division, where trading has been hit by lower US sweetener volumes and weaker ethanol margins.
Shares slumped almost 14 per cent or 91p to 573.5p as investors digested the company’s third profits downgrade of the last year.
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