FTSE 100 ends higher on miner boost, mid-caps lag for the week

(Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 ended Friday higher on gains in mining heavyweight Rio Tinto, and marked its best week in more than three months as a weaker pound benefited the exporter-heavy index.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE closed the day 0.5% higher and added 4% for the week, breaking a three-week losing streak. Insurer Aviva AV.L was the best performing blue-chip for the week after it said it will sell its Singapore business for S$2.7 billion ($1.98 billion).

The mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC shed 0.1% and lagged its bluechip peers for the week as a spike in COVID-19 cases spurred new curbs on social activity, hurting domestically-inclined consumer stocks. Pub operator J D Wetherspoon JDW.L was the worst weekly performer on the index.

“The FTSE 100 has international horizons and the resulting weakness in the pound (from hard Brexit fears) has boosted the relative value of constituents’ overseas earnings,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

Rio Tinto was the biggest boost to the index for the day after giving in to shareholder pressure to replace its chief executive over the destruction of two significant Aboriginal rockshelters.

Major miners rose on weakness in the pound and higher metal prices. The pound has come under pressure from increasing bets on a no-deal British exit from the European Union.[MET/L]

Still, British stocks have lagged their peers in the developed world as middling economic data and an uptrend in local coronavirus cases pushed them into a tight trading range since May.

A recent rout in U.S. stock markets had also extended to local equities, pressuring the FTSE 100 in particular.

British Airways owner IAG ICAG.L was the worst performing blue-chip stock for the week after it launched a heavily discounted capital raising and flagged worsening outlook for the rest of the year and 2021 due to the pandemic.

While data on Friday showed Britain’s economy in July grew for a third consecutive month, the new curbs on activity are likely to weigh on growth.

Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Andrew Heavens