Disappointing UK growth data offset by strong trading - London Report

BRITAIN’S top share index outperformed pan-European equities yesterday despite disappointment over first-quarter UK growth data, thanks to some positive trading updates and an improving corporate earnings outlook.

The FTSE 100 index closed 0.1 per cent up at 7,040.92, compared to a 0.6 per cent fall on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index that took a hit from pessimism over Greece’s ongoing debt struggles.

Sterling hit a three-week low against the US dollar after data confirmed the British economy grew 0.3 per cent in the first quarter compared with the quarter before, disappointing many who had expected a bigger gain.

But some investors said UK equities were looking more attractive relative to the Eurozone, having underperformed around Britain’s parliament

UK mining stocks fell 0.2 per cent, a drag on the commodities-heavy FTSE.

Leading the gainers, Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer Sports Direct was up 4.2 per cent, while home retail company Kingfisher rose 2.2 per cent.