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FTSE 100 Holds Steady In Cautious Trade

U.K. stocks held steady on Friday, with a firmer pound limiting the potential upside.

The pound is set for its second biggest weekly rise in 2018, a day after the Bank of England upgraded its growth forecast while leaving interest rates unchanged.

Easing concerns over the outlook of emerging markets and news of a possible new round of U.S.-China trade talks in coming days also supported the currency.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 9 points or 0.12 percent at 7,290 in late opening deals after losing 0.4 percent in the previous session.

Asset manager Investec soared 10 percent after announcing a demerger.

Close Brothers Group rallied 2 percent. The merchant banking group has unveiled plans to sell Close Brothers Retail Finance to Swedish payment solutions group Klarna Bank AB for an undisclosed amount.

SThree, a specialist STEM staffing business, jumped over 4 percent after its third-quarter group gross profit increased 13 percent from last year.

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair advanced 1.4 percent after it reached agreement with Italian unions on outline terms of a Collective Labour Agreement.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey shed 0.8 percent and rival Barratt Developments declined 0.7 percent after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned of sharp house price falls in the event of a chaotic no-deal Brexit.

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