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FTSE 100 Struggles For Direction As Retail Sales Tumble

U.K. stocks were struggling for direction on Friday, with rising bond yields, retail sales data and corporate news in focus.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was marginally lower at 6,615 after falling as much as 1.4 percent on Thursday.

NatWest Group rose over 1 percent after confirming that it will withdraw from the Republic of Ireland.

Daily Mail And General surged 5.3 percent after announcing the sale of its education technology business.

Civitas Social Housing edged up slightly after securing a new seven year term, interest only, loan facility of £84.55m from M&G Investment Management Limited.

Segro advanced 1.6 percent as it reported a 62 percent rise in 2020 pretax profit on the back of increased property valuations.

U.K. retail sales volume declined sharply in January as tighter nationwide coronavirus restrictions affected demand, the Office for National Statistics said.

Retail sales volume decreased 8.2 percent month-on-month, in contrast to a 0.4 percent rise seen in December. Economists had forecast a 2.5 percent fall.

Year-on-year, retail sales fell 5.9 percent, in contrast to a 3.1 percent rise in December. Economists had forecast a marginal decrease of 1.3 percent.

The U.K. budget balance showed its biggest deficit for January on record due to higher government spending amid the pandemic, another report showed.

U.K. PMI numbers will be out later in the day.

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