FTSE 100 CLOSE: M&S afternoon rally leaves stocks ahead

Friday’s session has ended with London blue chips ahead after US data showed consumer sentiment has reached a four-year high.

The FTSE 100 fell as low as 5,500 earlier in the afternoon but then picked up to end the day 31.57 points ahead at 5,575.52.

The market’s sell-off was halted by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment for May climbing to 77.8 points, up from 76.4 in the previous month and the highest level seen since January 2008.

Marks & Spencer made the strongest gain of the session. The high street retailer was up 3.48% to 360p after it announced it will launch an own-label Simply M&S range to compete with rivals in the value food space. (article continues below)

European real estate company Hammerson rose 3.19% to 429.8p while utility firm Severn Trent gained 3.11% to 1,693p. Biopharmaceutical firm Shire advanced 2.91% to 2,048p and property investor British Land was up 2.87% to 506p.

Resources company and financials were the biggest fallers. Eurasian Natural Resources, Xstrata, Barclays, Evraz and Glencore showed the largest drops of the day.