By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
Carnival cruises higher; pound lifted
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.K. stocks fell Friday and moved toward a weekly loss, as energy and mining shares came under pressure.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.5% to 6,861.34, looking at a fourth consecutive decline. It was also on track for a 2.3% decline from last Friday, which would mark the index's third weekly loss in four weeks.
The heavily weighted natural-resources group traded in the red, alongside a fall in oil and metals prices, although most prices for resources were headed for weekly gains. Shares of miners Randgold Resources Ltd. and Anglo American PLC were down 3.5% each. Oil major BP PLC lost 0.6%.
Antofagasta PLC pulled back 1.6% as the copper producer said it has suspended operations at three mines because of heavy rains in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The three affected mines are expected to make up 49% of the company's estimated 2015 production, said Jefferies in a note. "While production operations have been temporarily suspended, some processing of stockpiled material has been possible," Jefferies said.
But Carnival PLC shares shot up to the top of the FTSE 100, with a 5.3% rise coming after Carnival Corp. (>> Carnival Corp) posted quarterly earnings that surpassed Wall Street's expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/carnival-shares-rally-as-profit-beats-expectations-2015-03-27).
EasyJet PLC climbed 1.4% following an upgrade to outperform from sector perform at RBC Capital Markets. "To us, beyond [first-half] trading ... we think the summer intra-Europe airline outlook has become more positive," said analysts.
Shares of British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group also gained, up 1.7%.
Meanwhile, the pound (GBPUSD) rose against the dollar after Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney told a conference in Frankfurt the next move in the country's interest rates will likely be up. Sterling bought $1.4895 compared with $1.4883 late Thursday. The benchmark interest rate has stood at 0.5% for the past six years.