FTSE 100 ends lower as miners, travel stocks weigh, though best week since early Jan

Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange offices in the City of London, Britain

By Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar

(Reuters) -London's FTSE 100 ended lower on Friday as heavyweight mining stocks tracked lower commodity prices, although the blue-chip index recorded its best weekly performance since early January on optimism about a recovery in the UK economy.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> fell 0.3%, with British American Tobacco dropping 2.5% - the top loser on the index - after J.P. Morgan downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "overweight".

Travel stocks fell 1.3% and were the second biggest losers for the day after British travel company Jet2 said it was cancelling holidays until late June, blaming uncertainty in government plans for restarting international travel, which were condemned by airlines.

"To book or not to book, that is the question - that seems to have been answered today when it comes to a spot of summer sun. 'Not yet,' wasn’t quite what travel operators had been hoping for and it’s no surprise to find a number of them among the biggest losers on the London markets," said Danni Hewson, finance analyst at AJ Bell.

However, the losses were limited by a rise in consumer discretionary stocks, with Britain's biggest sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion the top gainer on the FTSE 100, ending 4.3% higher after Berenberg raised its price target on the stock.

The FTSE 100 index was up 2.7% on the week, its biggest since the week ending Jan. 8. For the year so far, it has added more than 7% following increased vaccine rollouts and government support to lift the economy from a pandemic-driven recession.

"There is, to some extent, a bit of a breather today because the FTSE 100 certainly has climbed to a level it's not seen since the pandemic hit the UK," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

In company news, Global recruitment firm PageGroup jumped 10.9% to the top of the mid-cap index on a higher 2021 profit outlook.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Mark Heinrich)