StockMarketWire.com - Sterling weakened as investors turned negative on the UK's ability to secure strong trading conditions with the European Union when it leaves in 2019.

This worked in favour of the FTSE 100 as blue-chip companies generate the majority of earnings overseas.

Strong results from housebuilder Berkeley (BKG) also contributed, prompting a rally in the housebuilding sector.

Berkeley revealed pre-tax profit rose 35.8% to £533.3m and sales increased 13.7% to £1.6bn in the six months to 31 October. It became the biggest riser on the FTSE 100, up 6.9% at £41.13.

Barratt Developments (BDEV), Taylor Wimpey (TW.) and Persimmon (PSN) chased their peer higher by up to 3.6%.

High street banks also enjoyed an uplift in its shares, led higher by Lloyds (LLOY) and Barclays (BARC).

The FTSE 100 closed 1% higher at 7,393.

Construction output contracted by 0.9% in the UK between July and September due to a decline in repair and maintenance, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In brighter news, UK production increased by 1.2% over the same period, driven by the largest rise in transport equipment manufacturing.

Brent crude oil increased 1.7% to $63.25 per barrel. Gold nudged 0.2% lower to $1,247 per ounce and copper climbed 0.4% to $2.95 per pound.

OVERSEAS NEWS

Positive employment figures supported a potential interest rate rise next week, helping Wall Street gain positive momentum on Friday.

The Nasdaq experienced the biggest boost, trading 0.5% higher at 6,846 around 4:45pm UK time.

MID AND LARGE RISERS AND FALLERS

Countryside Properties (CSP) announced Douglas Hurt was appointed senior independent director from next year. Investors were excited by Hurt's previous experience at firms such as Tate & Lyle (TATE) as the stock jumped 2.6% to 350.5p.

Investors took the news that Vodafone's (VOD) plan to create an entity in Malta was denied by the company's competition authorities in their stride as the shares were up 0.7% at 229.4p.

Infrastructure business John Laing (JLG) announced total investment commitments of £340m, beating its full year guidance and helping the shares advance 2.5% to 273.6p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Filtration specialist Porvair (PRV) jumped 6.7% higher to 480p as earnings for the full year were anticipated to beat expectations.

Ramsdens (RFX) was stable at 179p despite news that 30.7% of its existing shares will be sold to new investors.

Investment company Vela Technologies (VELA) entered a conditional agreement to invest £200,589 to acquire a minority stake in crypto currency platform BlockchainK2, triggering a 22.4% rally to 0.6p.

Pharma firm Angle (AGL) received a welcome 7.4% boost to 51p on news that its less invasive liquid biopsy may be approved to test for breast cancer. The company said it is working for clearance of the technique by the US Food and Drug Administration by 30 June 2018.


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