After a barrage of company announcements this week, it’s no wonder that markets have paused for breath on Friday. Investors have had so much to take in from a wealth of big names that they’re exhausted by the all the numbers.
European indices were parked in neutral and seemed unlikely to budge until it all starts again next week. A bit more action was seen in Asia where the Nikkei nudged up to a new record high.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “China took the crown for the best performing market across the week, up nearly 6% as a state-backed entity said it would actively buy shares.
“On the FTSE 350, precision engineer Renishaw managed a 17% weekly gain thanks to a brighter outlook. Mid-cap takeovers were a strong theme as we saw Redrow and DS Smith both subject to takeover interest, making them the second and third biggest FTSE 350 risers since Monday.
“Despite all the M&A excitement and a decent showing from parts of Asia and the US, it wasn’t a great week overall for UK shares. The FTSE 100 has gone nowhere for the second week in a row.
“Next week sees the big UK banks kick off their reporting season, led by NatWest on Friday, and that could have major implications for the FTSE 100. NatWest’s numbers will be studied even more closely in light of the government’s plan to sell its near-40% stake in a ‘Tell Sid’-style initiative later this year. Pre-tax income is expected to have advanced to £6 billion in 2023 (from £5.1 billion in 2022) and then recede to £4.8 billion in 2024.”