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.