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FTSE 100 Pares Early Gains On Weak Eurozone GDP Data

U.K. stocks opened higher on Friday after U.S. technology giants Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook posted stellar earnings, defying one of the worst economic downturns on record.

Markets, however, came off their day's highs after Eurostat said the euro area economy contracted at the fastest pace on record in the second quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to preliminary flash estimate, GDP fell 12.1 percent on a quarterly basis, bigger than the 3.6 percent drop in the first quarter. This was bigger than the economists' forecast of 11.2 percent and was the sharpest decline seen since the series began in 1995.

Closer home, U.K. house prices rose in July, defying expectations for further decline, survey data from the Nationwide Building Society showed today. The house price index rose 1.5 percent year-on-year after a 0.1 percent fall in June. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent drop.

Meanwhile, fears of a second wave of the coronavirus were rising in the U.K. after the government imposed fresh lockdown restrictions in northern swaths of the country late Thursday.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent at 5,999 after hitting as high as 6,046 earlier in the day. The benchmark plummeted 2.3 percent on Thursday.

British American Tobacco rose 0.6 percent after the cigarette maker reported a rise in first-half profits and said it remains committed to its 65 percent dividend pay-out ratio.

BT Group shares tumbled 3.1 percent. The telecoms group has warned of a sharp drop in revenue and earnings for the year.

LSE advanced 1.6 percent. The London exchange operator said it has commenced exploratory discussions which may result in a sale of LSEG's interest in MTS or potentially the Borsa Italiana group as a whole.

Commodity trading and mining company Glencore edged up slightly after raising its FY EBIT guidance range.
International Consolidated Airlines Group shares slumped 7.2 percent after the owner of British Airways swung to a loss of €4.21 billion and announced plans to raise €2.75 billion in a capital.

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