Strong UK retail sales fail to boost FTSE 100 at market open

London’s market opened on Friday with a subdued response to robust UK retail sales and positive inflation readings earlier this week.

The FTSE 100 index started down 1.8 points at 7,644.25, while the FTSE 250 declined 54.85 points, or 0.3%, to 19,256.88, and the AIM All-Share increased by 1.03 points, or 0.1%, to 765.32.

Investor attention was focused on better-than-expected UK retail sales figures for the previous month. The Office for National Statistics reported a 1.0% annual decline in retail sales in June, improving from a revised 2.3% drop in May. Market expectations had predicted a 1.5% fall, according to FXStreet-cited consensus.

On a monthly basis, retail sales rose by 0.7% in June, accelerating from a downwardly revised 0.1% increase in May. This surpassed the market consensus of a 0.2% rise.

The overall retail climate in the UK presents a mixed picture, as GfK’s survey data on Friday revealed a sudden drop in consumer confidence for June due to relentless inflation and rising interest rates.

Despite the mixed data, London-listed companies had a positive week, supported by cooler-than-expected UK inflation readings.

Mining stocks retraced some of Thursday’s gains, with Glencore down 0.9%. The company reaffirmed its annual production guidance following an update on its first-half performance. Key assets in copper, coal, and zinc performed in line with expectations and guidance, while adjustments were made for the second half’s volume weightings in copper, zinc, and nickel. Glencore’s CEO, Gary Nagle, expects annual adjusted earnings before interest and tax to be above the top end of the company’s long-term guidance range, likely ranging between $3.5 billion to $4.0 billion.

In the midcaps, Babcock rose 3.2%, continuing its double-digit gains from Thursday’s annual results announcement.

Transport firm FirstGroup saw a 2.0% increase as it confirmed trading aligned with the expectations provided in June.

In the small-cap market, THG rose by 1.2%. The e-commerce firm, known as The Hut Group, finalized the sale of two loss-making businesses, totaling about £4 million, as part of its previously announced company simplification exercise.