Pre-weekend bargain hunting lifts FTSE

Bargain hunting is alive and well on the last day of the week as investors look for under-priced stocks following a lower FTSE close on Thursda

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Bargain hunting is alive and well on the last day of the week as investors look for under-priced stocks following a lower FTSE close on Thursday. A case in point is cruise operator Carnival, up 7.2% this morning following yesterday’s dip to 833p.

Some encouragement for the broader market also came from Chinese data which showed that industrial production has started to recover in April, bouncing up 3.9% on the same month last year.

But there are still ample obstacles to a reliable stock market recovery including a rising number of new coronavirus cases in some US states, the glacial speed of economic recovery in the largest European economies and the intensifying of the pandemic across Russia and Latin America. A renewed frosting up of Sino-US relations at a point where the economies of both countries are already fragile will also remain a stumbling block to a sustainable uptrend in the stock market. 

BT, miners and travel firms rally

BT has rallied over 7.5% following a decision to sell its most profitable unit, the infrastructure maintenance arm Openreach, which has the potential to fetch as much as £20 billion. The proceeds from the sale will be used to complete BT’s plans of expanding its full-fibre network by the end of the decade.

Retailers, supermarkets and food delivery groups slipped to the bottom of the index but their losses were significantly smaller than the rallies.

The April declines in Brent crude prices seem to be in the rear view mirror now that the contract made up 11% during the course of this week. Some of the surplus in the market seems to be gradually siphoned off but the real test of whether the market has moved out of surplus back into some form of balance will come at the end of next week when the WTI June contract is due to expire.

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