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FTSE 100 nudges higher despite telecoms slump over Labour’s broadband plan

By PA City Staff

The London market nudged higher despite a mixed day which saw telecoms firms slump after the Labour Party outlined plans to turn broadband into a public service.

Jeremy Corbyn sent shock-waves through the City after unveiling a £20 billion scheme to part-nationalise BT which pulled the telecoms giant lower for the day, as well as rivals such as Vodafone and TalkTalk.

The FTSE 100 closed 10.18 points higher at 7,302.94 at the end of trading on Friday.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “In the UK, the sectors under the most pressure have been in telecoms and utilities as investors step back from some UK assets over concern about UK Labour’s nationalisation plans.

“While they still trail in the polls, some of the complacency that had surrounded some of its more radical policies is starting to get peeled away.”

Shares in BT slid in early trading after the Labour plan to introduce free broadband was announced but made some improvement throughout the day.

Nevertheless, BT still closed in the red, falling 2.24p to 193p on Friday.

Mobile operators also slipped on the news, with Vodafone sliding 4.98p to 154.6p as investors reacted badly to the policy announcement.

TalkTalk shares also fell, dropping 3p to 105.6p, during a day which also saw them confirm that plans to sell its FibreNation broadband business were put on hold due to the opposition party’s proposals.

Meanwhile, in Europe the key markets fared better as investors were hopeful following comments from President Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow which suggested that a trade deal is close to being sealed.

The German Dax increased by 0.47% while the French Cac moved 0.65% higher.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones also opened higher on the news of trade progress, as commerce secretary Wilbur Ross also suggested a deal could happen soon, boosting late-week optimism.

Sterling traded steadily despite the political noise coming from Labour’s manifesto commitments, finishing with mixed results against the dollar and euro.

The value of the pound increased 0.16% versus the US dollar at 1.290, and down 0.09% against the euro at 1.167.

Carpetright saw it shares rise after it formally agreed terms to sell the business (Carpetright/PA)

In company news, Carpetright saw its shares rise after it formally agreed terms to sell the business to its biggest shareholder Meditor in a deal that values the floor specialist at £15.2 million.

Shares in the company rose 0.63p to 4.88p by the end of trading.

Elsewhere, Oscar-winning visual effects business DNEG pulled its planned listing on the London Stock Exchange less than a month after first revealing its intentions.

Shares in pub group Fuller’s slid after it warned it will cost more than expected to separate its two arms after it sold its brewing business earlier this year to Japan’s Asahi.

The company saw its shares close 10p lower at 1,040p after the announcement.

The price of oil jumped despite concerns over slowing demand and increasing supply.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil rose by 1.4% to 63.32 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Whitbread, up 202p at 4,386p, NMC Health, up 78p at ,2368p, IAG, up 15.2p at 557.4p, and Antofagasta, up 21p at 882.6p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Coca-Cola HBC, down 80p at 2,476p, Vodafone, down 4.98p at 154.6p, Hiscox, down 33p at 1,249p, and Fresnillo, down 12p at 624.4p.