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FTSE 100 Climbs Despite Weak Data

U.K. stocks rose sharply on Friday, with defensive shares surging amid mounting fears around hawkish central banks and rising risks of a recession.

UK retail sales declined in May as high cost of living pulled consumer sentiment to a record low and weighed on households' spending in food stores, data showed earlier today.

Retail sales volume dropped 0.5 percent month-on-month in May, reversing a revised 0.4 percent increase in April. Economists had forecast sales to drop 0.7 percent after April's initially estimated 1.4 percent increase.

On a yearly basis, overall retail sales volume decreased at a slower pace of 4.7 percent after easing 5.7 percent in April.

Elsewhere, survey results from the market research group Gfk showed that British consumer confidence declined to a new record low in June. The consumer sentiment index dropped one point to -41 from -40 in May.

The consumer mood is currently darker than in the early stages of the Covid pandemic, the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum, and even the shock of the 2008 global financial crisis, and now there is talk of a looming recession, Joe Staton, client strategy director, GfK said.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 76 points, or 1.1 percent, at 7,097 after declining 1 percent on Thursday.

Ultra Electronics soared 12.6 percent after Cobham received the green light to take over the defense supplier.

Lamprell, which is facing severe liquidity problems, plummeted 78 percent. The provider of services to the energy industry said that it considers the takeover cash offer from Blofeld Investment Management to be at a significant discount to the prevailing share price.

Essentra, a packaging solutions provider, rose slightly after saying it has sold its ESNT Packaging & Securing Solutions Limited, Essentra Packaging US Inc, and their respective subsidiaries to Mayr-Melnhof Group.

Banking major Barclays gained 0.6 percent after it agreed to buy specialist mortgage lender Kensington Mortgage Co. Ltd.

Plumbing and heating products distributor Ferguson advanced 1.7 percent on share buyback news.

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