FTSE 100 Live: Sentiment boosted by U.S. debt ceiling progress

FTSE 100 Live: Sentiment boosted by U.S. debt ceiling progress

U.K. stock markets traded higher Friday, helped by the improved global sentiment after the U.S. debt ceiling bill passed through Congress, averting the possibility of an economically damaging default.

FTSE 100 Starting Benchmark – June 2

At 04:30 ET (08:30 GMT), the benchmark FTSE 100 index traded 0.6% higher, the mid-cap FTSE 250 climbed 1%, and the combined FTSE 350 rose 0.7%.

The U.S. Senate late Thursday passed legislation lifting the Federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, a day after the House of Representatives did the same.

The bill now heads to the White House to be signed into law by President Joe Biden, averting what would have been the country’s first-ever default after the Treasury Department had warned it would be unable to pay all its bills on June 5 if Congress failed to act by then.

“We are avoiding default tonight,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.

Sunak under pressure

Elsewhere, the news was less encouraging for the U.K. government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The rail union RMT is on strike Friday, paralyzing large swatches of the rail network as part of a long-running dispute with the government over pay and working conditions.

Another union, ASLEF, the main labor group for train drivers, organized a walkout on Wednesday, and another is set to follow on Saturday, the day of the FA Cup final and the Epsom Derby.

Additionally, Sunak is under pressure to launch a legal challenge in order to prevent the country’s COVID inquiry from seeing WhatsApp messages from then-prime minister, Boris Johnson, during the pandemic, with rivals accusing him of attempting a coverup.

NatWest sells PTSB stake

In corporate news, NatWest Group (LON:NWG) stock edged higher after the lender announced it had completed the sale of a part of its stake in Ireland’s Permanent TSB Group.

The U.K. bank received just over €55 million (£1 = €1.1636) after selling a 5% stake in the Irish company, meaning it now holds 11.7% of PTSB.

International Consolidated Airlines, the group that owns British Airways (LON:ICAG), has been fined $1.1 million (£1 = $1.2532) by the U.S. government over claims it failed to provide timely refunds during the COVID pandemic.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals (LON:DPH) stock soared 8% after the company which deals with veterinary products backed a £4.5 billion takeover offer led by Swedish private equity firm EQT (ST:EQTAB).

Dechra said they considered the terms “fair and reasonable” and “intend to recommend unanimously” the proposal to shareholders.

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