(RTTNews) - U.K. stocks edged lower on Friday as the pound strengthened in reaction to upbeat retail sales and PMI data released earlier in the day.
The benchmark FTSE 100 dropped 22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,916 after closing 0.6 percent higher on Thursday.
Exporters were moving lower, with British American Tobacco and Diageo falling about 1 percent amid sterling's strength.
BP Plc fell over 1 percent and Royal Dutch Shell was down 0.7 percent despite oil prices increasing in the world markets.
Senior Plc shares fell 2.2 percent after the company said trading for the three months ended March 2021 has been in line with expectations.
FirstGroup shares surged 8.6 percent after the bus operator confirmed it is selling its U.S. school bus business to infrastructure investor EQT in a £3.3bn ($4.6bn) deal.
In economic releases, the preliminary "flash" reading of the U.K. Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 60.0 in April, the highest reading since November 2013, from 56.4 in March.
A deluge of new orders swept through British businesses in the month as the country lifted some of its Covid-19 restrictions, the survey said.
Meanwhile, U.K. retail sales grew more than expected in March as the easing of the restrictions related to the coronavirus lifted consumer spending, a government report showed.
Retail sales volume grew 5.4 percent month-on-month, faster than the 2.2 percent increase in February. This was the biggest growth since June 2020 and also better than the economists' forecast of 1.5 percent.
On a yearly basis, retail sales advanced 7.2 percent, reversing February's 3.6 percent decline and larger than expectations of +3.5 percent.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.