(Alliance News) - The FTSE 100 in London opened higher on Friday, as investors eye a key US inflation data.

The FTSE 100 index opened up 12.67 points, 0.2%, at 8,243.72. The FTSE 250 was down 16.03 points, 0.1%, at 20,654.84, and the AIM All-Share was up 0.91 of a point, 0.1%, at 803.60.

The Cboe UK 100 was up marginally at 821.87, the Cboe UK 250 was down 0.5% at 18,136.86, and the Cboe Small Companies was up marginally at 17,229.48.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris was down marginally, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was down 0.2%.

In the US on Thursday, Wall Street ended lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.9%, the S&P 500 down 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite down 1.1%.

Eyes are firmly on Friday's US inflation data, which is out at 1330 BST.

According to FXStreet, numbers on Friday are expected to show that the core personal consumption expenditures index, the Federal Reserve's preferred US inflation gauge, rose 2.8% year-on-year in April, the same pace of growth as in March.

The core PCE reading does not include food or energy. The headline index, which does, is expected to have risen 2.7% on-year in April, also the same pace of growth as in March.

Before that, focus will also be on a eurozone consumer price index report at 1000 BST.

The single currency area's annual inflation rate is expected to have picked up to 2.5% this month, from 2.4% in April, according to FXStreet.

Back to the UK, in early economic news, UK house prices were higher on-month May.

The Nationwide house price index showed a 0.4% increase in seasonally adjusted UK house prices in May, following a 0.4% fall a month earlier. According to FXStreet, market consensus expected the house price index to rise by just 0.1%.

Annually, the house price index rose by 1.3%, picking up speed from a 0.6% increase in April.

"The market appears to be showing signs of resilience in the face of ongoing affordability pressures following the rise in longer term interest rates in recent months. Consumer confidence has improved noticeably over the last few months, supported by solid wage gains and lower inflation," said Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2706 early on Friday in London, down compared to USD1.2738 at the equities close on Thursday. The euro stood at USD1.0822, lower against USD1.0839. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY157.11, up compared to JPY156.65.

In the FTSE 100, Centrica, the owner of British Gas, rose 4.1%. RBC raised the stock to 'outperform' from 'sector perform'.

NatWest edged 0.5% higher.

The UK government has sold GBP1.24 billion in NatWest shares back to the company. The Treasury sold 392.4 million shares at 316.2p each, and as a result the government's stake will be cut to 22.50% from 25.98%.

NatWest was nationalised in 2008 and 2009, with several multibillion-pound bailouts leaving the UK taxpayer with an 84% stake in the company, which at the time was known as the RBS Group.

The government since has been progressively reducing its stake by means of market sales and buybacks by NatWest.

On the other hand, Flutter Entertainment lost 13%.

Flutter announced that its primary listing is now on the New York Stock Exchange.

"Today marks an important milestone in the evolution of Flutter with the commencement of our primary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. This closely follows the recent move of our operational headquarters to New York, with both reflecting the increasing importance of the US sports betting and iGaming market to our business," said CEO Peter Jackson.

In line with the move, Chief Financial Officer Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson has stepped down, due to commitments in the UK.

Flutter named Rob Coldrake as its new finance chief. Coldrake is currently CFO of Flutter International, a role he has held since joining the company in 2020.

JD Sports fell 7.5%.

JD Sports reported revenue of GBP10.54 billion in the 53 weeks ended February 3, or GBP10.40 billion on a 52 week basis, up from GBP10.13 billion a year earlier.

Pretax profit increased to GBP811.2 million, up 67% from GBP486.7 million.

However, adjusted pretax profit in the 52 weeks to January 27 fell 8.0% to GBP912.4 million compared to GBP991.4 million in the 52 weeks ended January 28, 2023.

JD Sports upped its annual dividend by 13% to 0.9p from 0.8p.

The athleisure retailer said that first quarter performance was in line with expectations and it has maintained full-year pretax profit guidance of GBP995 million to around GBP1.04 billion.

In the FTSE 250, Harbour Energy rose 0.9%.

The oil and gas company said it continues to make "good progress" on concluding the acquisition of the Wintershall Dea asset portfolio.

In December, Harbour agreed to purchase the assets from the oil and gas company for USD11.2 billion, and expects the acquisition to increase its production rate to around 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

On Friday, it noted that documents are in the final stages of preparation and are expected in the coming weeks.

In Asia on Friday, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was up 1.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 0.6%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 1.0%.

Brent oil was quoted at USD81.77 a barrel early in London on Friday, down from USD82.83 late Thursday. Gold was quoted at USD2,341.90 an ounce, lower against USD2,342.54.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

Comments and questions to newsroom@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.