FTSE 100 CLOSE: Early losses recouped as BT slashes pension deficit

The FTSE 100 pulled back from its poor start to the session but remains down overall after a week of disappointing economic data.

Friday’s session ended with the blue-chip index up 9.24 points to 5,854.89, led by BT’s rise after announcing it will channel £2 billion into its staff pension fund.

BT advanced by 5.40% to 232.1p. The company’s move sees its £4.1 billion pension deficit paid down faster than previously planned and was welcomed by commentators such as Fitch Ratings.

Asset management house Ashmore rose 3.17% to 377.1p and mining group Antofagasta took 2.72% to hit 1,172p. Retailer Next gained 2.51% to 2,987p while copper miner Kazakhmys rose 2.46% to 935.5p.

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry, gold miner Randgold Resources, plumbing supplies business Wolseley, water company Severn Trent and building materials firm CRH were the day’s biggest fallers.

Despite today’s overall gain, the FTSE 100 ended the week under the 5,966 it closed at last Friday. The week saw poor manufacturing numbers from both China and the eurozone, weaker-than-expected UK retail figures and a Nationwide survey showing falling consumer confidence weigh on stocks.