LONDON: Britain’s blue-chip index closed slightly higher on Thursday, aided by gains in telecoms group BT and pharma majors, while doubts over the UK’s reopening plans later this month hurt the domestically focused mid-cap index.
Shares in BT Group jumped 6.6% to hit their highest since January 2020 after telecoms billionaire Patrick Drahi’s Altice Group bought a 12.1% stake worth about 2.2 billion pounds ($3.1 billion), making it the largest shareholder.
The export-heavy FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.1%, also boosted by drugmakers AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.
Stocks more exposed to the domestic economy took a hit, with the UK’s mid-cap index falling 0.7% in its third session of losses amid doubts over a full reopening of the country on June 21 as coronavirus cases pick-up again.
Meanwhile, Britain and the European Union failed to agree on solutions to post-Brexit trade problems in Northern Ireland this week, with the two sides exchanging threats, including imposition of tariffs and quotas.
Among other stocks, facilities management provider Mitie jumped 5.9% as it predicted its full-year profit would beat current market estimates.
Online trading platform CMC Markets rose 1.7% as it said annual profits had more than doubled.