FTSE 100 inch higher; oil, vodafone rise
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- London stocks ended a choppy session on a slightly positive note on Friday, as oil firms and
The FTSE 100 index (UKX) closed marginally higher at 5,351.53, after trading as low as 5,312.20 earlier in the session. On a weekly basis, the index took on 1.6%.
The index swung between gains and losses for most of the day. It advanced in morning trade on encouraging German consumer-confidence data, but turned wobbly on continuing concerns about Greece and global growth.
U.S. stocks will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day and many expected investors to square positions ahead of the long weekend.
Miners weighed on the index in London and partly shaved off Wednesday's gains, where the sector was among the biggest advancers.
The sector dropped as a cooling in Chinese bank lending further indicated that growth in the world's second largest economy is slowing down. Bloomberg reported Thursday that the nation's biggest banks may fall short of loan targets this year for the first time in at least seven years.
Oil firms pointed in the opposite direction and followed oil prices higher.
"Vodafone's strengths include its global scale, diverse operations, sound liquidity, and good cash flow generation," Fitch said.
Further lending support in London, shares of consumer-goods major
Utilities were also higher. United Utilities Group PLC (UU.) rose 1.9% to 694 pence a share after Nomura analysts raised their target price to 715 pence from 695 pence. The analysts cited prior-day results from United Utilities, in which earnings before interest and taxation were slightly ahead of expectations.
Temporary power provider
U.K. banks were on the decline, after posting solid gains the prior day.