By Dow Jones Business News,
January 17, 2014, 12:09:00 PM EDT
By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- A much better-than-expected report on U.K. retail sales helped lift the FTSE 100 index on
Friday, although a profit warning from Royal Dutch Shell PLC cut into the benchmark's gains.
The FTSE 100 index added 0.2% to close at 6,829.30, sending it 1.3% higher on the week.
The index was buoyed by data from the Office for National Statistics that showed U.K. retail sales jumped 2.6% in
December over November, beating analysts' forecast of a 0.2% rise. That was the biggest month-on-month rise since
Retail firms were among top advancers in the index, with shares of Marks and Spencer Group PLC up 1.8% and Kingfisher
PLC rising 0.9%.
Mining firms rose, tracking gains for most metals prices. Shares of Glencore Xstrata PLC (GLCNF) added 3.4%, Rio
Tinto PLC (RIO) put on 1.5% and BHP Billiton PLC ( BHP ) gained 1.6%. Miners had also advanced on Thursday after
Citigroup went bullish on the sector for the first time in three years.
But shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) gave up 1.2% after the energy giant warned its fourth-quarter profit would
be significantly weaker than recent levels.
"Despite all this Royal Dutch Shell remains our top pick for 2014. The difficulties of 2013 make it easy to forget
that Shell still starts from a stronger free cash flow position than the majority of the peer group," analysts at
Barclays said in a note.
"We expect the final presentation of the 4Q results and the March strategy presentation to see new CEO Ben Van Beurden
set out a path to improving operating cash flow, free cash flow and [return on average capital employed] from the
existing Shell portfolio," they added.
Oil-services firm Petrofac Ltd. climbed 1% after Nomura lifted it to buy from neutral.
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