UPDATE 2-UK's FTSE 100 index closes flat

UPDATE 2-UK’s FTSE 100 index closes flat, logs third-straight weekly gain

Dec Reuters – London s FTSE index was subdued on Friday as gains in financials and consumer staple stocks were offset by losses in oil majors BP and Shell, and stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data also depressed sentiment after a strong week.

The blue-chip index closed flat. It rose .% for the week, its third straight weekly win. The domestically-focused FTSE index ended .% lower.

Weighing on the mood, data showed U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in November and increased wages despite mounting worries of a recession, increasing the likelihood that central banks will continue to raise rates.

Today s jobs report shows that there s still some way to go before central banks can allow the market to ease financial conditions for them, said Andrea Cicione, Head of Strategy at TS Lombard.

British businesses reported easing price pressures, but warned of lower employment and investment, in a Bank of England survey on Thursday that should reassure policymakers that their interest rate rises are taking effect.

The FTSE has gained more than % since its October lows as the British government s new leadership tries to restore confidence in the economy after a mini-budget raised concerns about fiscal policy and rattled markets.

Among single stocks, Primark-owner AB Foods jumped % to top the FTSE index after two positive brokerage actions.

AJ Bell climbed .% as Jefferies upgraded the investment platform s stock to buy from hold. Shares of eastern Mediterranean-focused oil and gas producer Energean slid .% on the institutional seller s discounted share sale. Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Sherry Jacob-Phillips, and Barbara Lewis

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