FTSE 100 Struggles For Direction

(RTTNews) - U.K. stocks struggled for direction on Friday after leading scientists advising the government have proposed a two-week national lockdown in October to try to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was little changed at 6,050 after declining half a percent in the previous session.

Travel stocks were losing ground as concerns grew over a worsening second wave of coronavirus cases in the region.

International Consolidated Airlines Group plunged over 10 percent, easyJet slumped 7.2 percent and InterContinental Hotels Group lost 5 percent.

Investec gave up 3.3 percent. The banking and wealth management group said it expects adjusted earnings per share for the first-half of 2021 to be between 10.5 pence and 8.3 pence, which will be 64 percent to 71 percent behind last year as a result of the de-merger of the asset management business in March 2020.

Man Group rallied 2.2 percent after announcing a new share buyback program.

In economic news, data from the Office for National Statistics showed that U.K. retail sales grew for the fourth straight month in August but the pace of expansion slowed markedly.

Retail sales volume increased 0.8 percent month-on-month in August, but slower than July's 3.7 percent increase. Sales were forecast to climb 0.7 percent. This was the fourth consecutive rise in volume. When compared with February 2020's pre-pandemic level, total retail sales were 4.0 percent higher in volume terms.

Separately, an annual survey conducted by the Confederation of British Industry revealed that nearly half of the U.K. firms plan to either reduce or not recruit at all over the coming year.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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