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London outshines troubled global markets

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Following a bad start to the week, London’s main stock index managed to claw back its earlier losses as it ended Thursday and Friday in the green.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.1% as it gained 9.3 points, reaching 7,269.92.

It was led higher by IAG, the airline owner behind British Airways, which had a torrid time most of the rest of the week.

After dropping significantly because of escalating Omicron worries and restrictions, IAG rebounded somewhat on Friday, rising by 4%.

“The travel and leisure sector is undergoing a bit of an end of week rebound after a bad week, with British Airways owner IAG amongst the best performers today, in a week that has seen the shares come under increasing pressure with the announcement of various travel bans these past few days,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

He added: “The FTSE 100 is holding up better than most despite the energy and financial sector being the worst performers today, as a big slide in oil prices has seen BP and Shell slip back.

“We’re also seeing the likes of Lloyds and NatWest Group give up some of the gains that we saw yesterday in the wake of the surprise rate hike by the Bank of England.

“This week’s best performers have been Ocado in a year that has seen it languish amongst the worst performing FTSE100 stocks, while AstraZeneca is also up on the week after it was found that its Evusheld antibody cocktail combination was found to work well in treating symptoms against the Omicron variant.

London’s performance put it in contrast to many international peers.

In the US both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 were heavily in the red as markets closed in Europe.

The latter had given back 0.9%, while the Dow was down 1.3%.

In Europe there was a similar story.

The Frankfurt Dax dropped 0.6%, while the Cac 40 in Paris fell by 1.1%.

In currency markets Sterling was mildly positive.

It was trading at 1.3267 dollars or 1.1766 shortly after stock markets closed in Europe.

The main company news in what was otherwise a quiet day in London came from HSBC.

The banking giant was fined nearly £64 million by the Financial Conduct Authority for “serious weaknesses” in efforts to fight money laundering.

The bank’s automated systems that are used to check in on millions of transactions every day were not up to scratch when it came to identifying possible criminal activity, the watchdog found.

The problems lasted between 2010 and 2018, the FCA said.

Money laundering is a key way for corrupt politicians and organised criminals to ensure they are able to spend their ill-gotten gains.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, up 5.02p to 132.04p, AB Foods, up 69p to 1,952.5p, Informa, up 17p to 503p, Flutter Entertainment, up 350p to 11,195p, and National Grid, up 30p to 336.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Croda, down 323p to 9,922p, United Utilities, down 34p to 1,593p, Spirax-Sarco, down 320p to 15,380p, Shell B, down 31p to 1,595.8p, and Natwest Group, down 4p to 219.4p.

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