February 16, 2018 / 10:22 AM / 6 months ago

Britain's FTSE gets back on its feet after four-week losing streak

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* FTSE 100 up 0.8 pct

* Cyclicals, consumer staples buoy index

* Segro jumps after results

* SLA regains some ground on upgrade

By Kit Rees

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The UK’s top share index advanced further on Friday, heading for its first positive week since the middle of January in a tentative recovery following a recent sell-off.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.8 percent at 7,293.61 points by 1005 GMT, its highest level in one week, while mid caps also rose 0.8 percent.

On the day, shares in financials and energy stocks contributed to gains, while consumer staples, a sector which typically pays high dividends, added the most points.

Consumer staples and utilities have recently come under pressure from rising bond yields, which can dent appetite for their dividend income streams.

Among individual risers, shares in Segro bounced 6.6 percent after the property group beat consensus expectations in its results for 2017.

“A solid report card, with attractive fundamentals and an outlook which are sure to maintain interest in what is perhaps the more conservative end of a steady-eddy sector,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said in a note.

Standard Life Aberdeen regained some of yesterday’s losses, up 2.2 percent on the back of an upgrade from broker Bernstein to “overweight”.

The insurer and asset manager’s shares dropped 7.5 percent on Thursday after its biggest client Lloyds served notice to terminate its asset management mandate with the firm.

Bernstein analysts, however, said that the weakness in Standard Life Aberdeen’s shares, which are down nearly 16 percent this year, was an “attractive opportunity”.

“We think that if the rest of the business looks OK, and management provides investors comfort that it could shed some cost related to SW assets, the shares could get back on track after this sharp sell-off,” Bernstein analysts said in a note, looking ahead to SLA’s full year results due later this month.

The FTSE 100 was on track to break a four-week losing streak, during which time it came under pressure thanks to a rise in sterling as well as a broader equity market sell-off at the beginning of February.

February’s losses were sparked by concerns around rising bond yields and higher inflation, and the prospect of central banks raising interest rates at a faster pace than expected.

In the UK, data on Tuesday showed inflation unexpectedly held at close to its highest level in nearly six years in January, raising the likelihood of a rate hike in May.

The possibility of higher rates can make equities less attractive to some investors compared to bonds.

For the time being, though, company earnings remain at the forefront of investors’ minds.

“We’ve seen a massive over-sell in the market, and I would expect at least a short-term recovery, mainly due to banks reporting next week which we expect will be good numbers,” said Jamie Meyer, advisory investment manager at Ocean Capital Group.

Reporting by Kit Rees; editing by Mark Heinrich

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