FTSE finishes in the green as European markets rebound

European markets bounced back in the latest see-saw after major declines during the previous two trading sessions.

Retail stocks once again lagged behind on the FTSE, with Sainsbury’s and JD Sports among the few firms going backwards on Friday.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 87.24 points, or 1.19%, at 7,389.98 points.

The German Dax increased by 0.72% by the end of the session while the French Cac rose 0.2%.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “In a complete contrast to yesterday’s large declines, European markets have rebounded strongly as we come to the end of a volatile and whiplash-inducing trading week.

“At one point this week we were looking down the barrel of some fairly sizeable losses, however today’s rebound has helped mitigate most, if not all of this week’s losses, on both the FTSE 100 and the German Dax.

“Today’s recovery from the lows has been helped by a strong lead from Asia markets after Chinese banks cut their five-year loan prime rates in an attempt to kickstart an economy that is slowing sharply due to various Covid restrictions.”

Across the Atlantic, Wall Street took its early cue from Europe to open higher but lost steam as traders continue to worry about the Fed’s recent hawkish tone regarding rate rises.

Meanwhile, sterling made further gains during a dreadful week for the dollar over concerns about a possible economic slowdown in the US.

The pound increased by 0.2% against the dollar to 1.249, and increased 0.17% against the euro to 1.183.

In company news, M&C Saatchi shares leapt higher after consultancy business Next Fifteen Communications swooped on the advertising firm in a £310 million takeover deal.

The company, famous for its political adverts for the Conservatives, agreed the deal after previously turning down an offer from tech entrepreneur Vin Murria, who is also deputy chair and M&C Saatchi’s biggest single shareholder.

Shares in the company shot 48p higher to 213p at the close.

THG also shot higher on the back of takeover talk after a bidding war began for the embattled online beauty and health retailer.

The company, previously called The Hut Group, rejected a joint bid worth £2.07 billion from Belerion Capital and King Street Capital, as property tycoon Nick Candy also said he was preparing a potential move for THG.

Shares in the retail business closed 28.55p higher at 145p.

Playtech finished the day 34p higher at 539p after the gambling software firm said it has seen “progress” in talks with takeover suitor TT Bond Partners despite discussion rumbling on for 15 weeks.

The price of oil nudged higher at the end of another choppy day for the energy sector as worries over supply issues related to Russia butted heads against demand concerns driven by pandemic restrictions in Europe.

Brent crude increased by 0.31% to 112.39 US dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were Royal Mail, up 15.4p at 315.4p, St James’s Place, up 46.5p at 1,235p, 3i Group, up 43.5p at 1,221.5p, Abrdn, up 6.6p at 185.5p, and Flutter, up 302p at 9,188p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 23p at 737p, Sainsbury’s, down 4.3p at 232.7p, Imperial, down 28.5p at 1,790.5p, B&M, down 6.5p at 422.4p, and Standard Chartered, down 4p at 586.6p.