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LONDON MARKETS : FTSE 100 Inches Lower, But On Track For Weekly Rise

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02/17/2017 | 09:43am CET

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch

Coke bottler Coca-Cola HBC's shares build on prior day's sizable gain

U.K. stocks edged lower Friday, but stayed on track for a small weekly gain and kept near a one-month high.

The FTSE 100 inched down by 0.1% to 7,271.74, putting the blue-chip benchmark on pace for a 0.2% gain for the week.

On Thursday, the index lost 0.3%, retreating from a one-month closing high reached in the prior session.

The pound was trading at $1.2496, little changed from $1.2494 late Thursday, as investors waited for a January report on U.K. retail sales. The report was expected at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

"The upcoming retail sales number may come in on the weaker side," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK, in a note Thursday. "The forecast for today's number is for a rise of 0.9%, which we think has set the stage for disappointment."

Investors also were digesting U.S. President Donald Trump's lengthy press conference on Thursday, in which he said he "inherited a mess," regarding the U.S. economy, and blasted the news media.

Movers: Coca-Cola HBC AG's shares gained 2.6% for the FTSE 100's biggest gain. The stock is building on Thursday's jump of 4.9%, which came after the bottling company said profit rose last year .

Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.LN) gave up 2.2% for the FTSE's largest loss.

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