UK shares positive as pound tumbled
European stocks were heading for their fourth weekly decline in five, down 0.6 percent, after a rally from a June low ran out of steam in early September.
U.K. shares got an additional boost after the pound tumbled to a fresh 31-year low against the dollar. However, the FTSE 100 managed to gain 0.6 percent, since the slump in sterling should benefit exporters and help the index's international companies. Sterling slid on new concern that British Prime Minister Theresa May's government will back a "hard Brexit" where Britain leaves the European Union's single market in order to impose controls on immigration. That could hinder inward and outward trade and constrict the foreign investment needed to fund Britain's current account deficit, one of the biggest in the developed world.
While almost all other European markets fell on growing speculation that the Federal Reserve will increase borrowing costs this year, the U.K. measure rallied 2.1 percent this week, coming close to reaching a record. It closed 0.8 percent away from the April 2015 peak.
The main Asian stock gauge has nudged slightly higher this week, heading for a 0.3 percent advance, as investors awaited U.S. economic reports and watch for comments by Fed officials to assess the path of interest rates. The measure posted its best quarter since 2012 in the three months ended September.
The long-awaited U.S. jobs report did little to sway traders from bets the Federal Reserve will boost rates this year, leaving stocks, the dollar and bonds little changed as investors turn their attention to the start of the earnings season and key data on the health of consumers. Stocks posted the first weekly decline in four as investors speculate whether the world’s biggest economy is robust enough to cope with higher borrowing costs.
Emerging-market stocks trimmed their weekly advance on speculation that a Fed hike will diminish the flow of capital into higher-yielding assets.