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FTSE 100 pulled higher by commodity-linked stocks

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The FTSE 100 rose on Friday as the energy and mining sectors boosted the exporter-heavy index a day after Britain unveiled its new budget aimed at returning stability to the economy.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.6%, while the more domestically focused FTSE 250 midcaps added 0.4%.

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Precious metal miners rose 0.7%, while the energy sector gained 0.5%.

“Commodity producers were in demand, extending a recent rally for the mining and oil sectors as investors hope the global economic slowdown won’t be as bad as previously feared,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.

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The FTSE 100 is expected to gain 0.6% for the week, while midcaps are seen clocking their first weekly fall in five.

Meanwhile, British finance minister Jeremy Hunt challenged critics within the Conservative Party who are unhappy with his plan for higher taxes, saying that his new budget was needed to tackle inflation now running at a four-decade high.

“It would have been better if the government was able to adopt some countercyclical measures, but with this budget they actually are going to aggravate the slowdown in demand that is already underway,” Stefan Koopman, senior market economist at Rabobank, said.

Data showed British retail sales staged only a partial rebound last month after shops closed in September for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, and they remained below their pre-pandemic level as soaring inflation hits spending power.

Insurer Legal & General Group jumped 3.9% as it welcomed the Solvency II ratio package announced in the new budget and said risk margin reform will boost its solvency ratio by 3% to 4%.

Tritax Big Box rose 2.1% to the top of the midcaps index after Goldman Sachs upgraded the REIT’s stock to “buy.” (Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Shounak Dasgupta)

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