LIVE: FTSE up, US stocks down following promising China data

How major markets are performing on Friday

FTSE People walk past stalls at Portobello Road Market in west London on August 19, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)
The FTSE 100 ticked up in London off the back of a weak pound. Photo: Henry Nicholls/AFP via Getty

Markets in London rallied on Friday, extending gains off the back of a bad week for sterling and following Asia higher.

The FTSE (^FTSE) had finished around 2% higher on Thursday, and ticked up 0.7% by the afternoon on Friday. Thursday's rally was the biggest since November last year.

In Europe, the DAX (^GDAXI) rose 0.5% and the CAC (^FCHI) was 0.9% by the end of the day.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised the three key interest rates by 25 basis points — a move that was expected among traders and tracks other major economies. Rates in Europe are now at the highest level since the euro was launched in 1999.

Meanwhile, the pound (GBPUSD=X) skirted around the $1.24 mark. Sterling being weak typically makes stocks listed in London more attractive to foreign buyers with relatively stronger currencies.

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European markets had caught the good mood from China, following a surge in the price of iron ore as well as data from the retail and industrial sectors indicating an end to growth worries that have lingered in recent weeks.

"While the numbers today are pleasing from the perspective of risk-appetite, investors will probably want to see a trend of better data start to develop before being lured back into Chinese assets with any conviction," said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.

US markets opened lower with the S&P 500 (^GSPC) pulling back 0.9%, the Dow (^DJI) down 0.6% and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) declining 1.3% by late-morning. Stocks were weighed down by consumer sentiment readings and high oil and US import prices stoking worries about inflation.

Meanwhile the dollar strengthened.

“The US dollar continues to appreciate and is on track for its ninth straight weekly gain ahead of next week's rate decisions by the Fed, BoE and BoJ," said Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst at IG.

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