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LONDON MARKETS : FTSE 100 Logs Back-to-back Record Highs, As G-20 Members Meet

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03/17/2017 | 06:27pm CEST

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

Bob Diamond returns to U.K. investment banking via Panmure buyout deal

U.K. blue-chip stocks edged higher Friday, enough for the market to close at a second consecutive record high, as focus turned to the Group of 20 meeting of finance chiefs in Germany.

The FTSE 100 finished up 0.1% at 7,424.96. The oil and gas, telecom and consumer-goods sectors led the advance, but those moves were nearly offset by losses in financial, health-care and utility shares.

Still, the advance was sufficient to knock out Thursday's record of 7,415.95.

For the week, the FTSE 100 closed up 1.1%, the second weekly advance in three weeks.

G-20 talks: Investors moved with caution Friday as the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the world's largest economies kicked off in the German spa town of Baden-Baden.

"Whilst these events have had little impact on markets in recent years, a little more attention may be paid this time given it will be the first meeting attended by new U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin," said Investec economist Victoria Clarke in a note.

"Much of the discussion will likely be on trade and currencies, particularly in light of reports that the communiqué will drop pledges to avoid competitive [foreign-exchange] devaluations and resisting all forms of protectionism."

The pound bought $1.2387, up from $1.2361 late Thursday in New York. The U.K. currency recaptured the $1.23 handle on Thursday after the Bank of England showed a slightly hawkish tone, as one of its nine board members voted to raise the benchmark rate to 0.25% .

Stock movers: Capturing attention Friday was AIM-listed Panmure Gordon & Co. PLC (>> Panmure Gordon & Co. Plc) as its shares rocketed up 65% to 98 pence. The surge came after the stockbroker accepted a GBP15.5 million ($19.2 million) cash buyout offer from former Barclays PLC Chief Executive Bob Diamond and a Qatari investment group.

After hefty gains Thursday, miners listed on the FTSE 100 closed mixed on Friday. Fresnillo PLC (>> Fresnillo Plc) notched a 0.1% gain, reversing earlier losses to keep a six-session winning streak alive. But fellow precious metals producer Randgold Resources PLC (>> Randgold Resources Limited) ended lower by 0.4%.

Insurer Admiral Group PLC (>> Admiral Group plc) and ConvaTec Group (>> ConvaTec Group PLC), which makes dressings to cover wounds, topped the blue-chips index as shares of each closed up 1.9%.

The yield on the 10-year gilt rose 1 basis points to 1.24%, according to electronic-trading platform Tradeweb.

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