Investing.com - U.K. stock markets largely edged higher Friday, helped by a wave of optimism that a U.S. debt default can be avoided as well as British consumers showing increased confidence.
U.K. equities have followed the global trend higher as both U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy expressed confidence that a deal could shortly be reached to lift the U.S. debt ceiling, removing the potential for a default on the country’s debt obligations, which would have had severe repercussions globally.
Adding to the positive tone were the results of the latest survey from market research firm GfK, which indicated that British consumer confidence has risen for the fourth month in a row to its highest since February 2022.
The headline confidence index rose to -27 in May from -30 in April, moving further away from the -49 record low last September when former prime minister Liz Truss's "mini-budget" resulted in chaos in financial markets.
The corporate earnings slate was relatively quiet Friday, but Smiths Group (LON: SMIN ) impressed after the engineering firm raised guidance for organic revenue growth to 10% for the financial year after a strong third quarter.
“Q3 was another strong quarter for Smiths, building on the record performance we achieved in the first half,” said CEO Paul Keel. “We’ve now delivered eight consecutive quarters of growth, enabled by our strategy of accelerating growth, improving execution, and investing in our people.”
Elsewhere, the U.K. government announced plans to support its semiconductor industry, seeking to boost its domestic chipmaking capabilities in the wake of disruptions to global supplies over the last year or so.
The government said it will initially invest up to £200 million from 2023 to 2025 before expanding its commitment to up to £1 billion in the next decade (£1 = $1.2406).
“Semiconductors underpin the devices we use every day and will be crucial to advancing the technologies of tomorrow,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.
Sunak is attending the latest Group of Seven summit in Japan's Hiroshima, a gathering at which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to attend in person to ask for new sanctions against Russia in an attempt to force Moscow into ending the Ukraine war.
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.