(Sharecast News) - London stocks were still flat by midday on Friday as investors weighed up better-than-expected UK GDP data against hawkish Fed comments.
The FTSE 100 was steady at 7,554.28, while sterling was up 0.1% against the dollar at 1.3723.
The top-flight index was outperforming its European peers, however, with the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index down 0.6% after heavy losses on Wall Street and in Asia overnight on the back of hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve officials.
Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: "Candid Fed talk from a number of FOMC members about the threat of inflation rattled the rate sensitive tech sector stateside with investors pinning their hopes on US earnings season as the next potential catalyst to reinvigorate risk appetite."
On home shores, figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed the economy recovered to above pre-pandemic levels in November.
GDP grew 0.9%, up from 0.2% in October and coming in ahead of expectations for 0.4% growth. That left the economy 0.7% above its level in February 2020, just before the first wave of the pandemic hit.
ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: "The economy grew strongly in the month before Omicron struck with architects, retailers, couriers and accountants having a bumper month.
"Construction also recovered from several weak months, as many raw materials became easier to get hold of.
"This meant that monthly GDP exceeded its pre-pandemic level for the first time in November."
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that "with Omicron expected to be a short sharp shock rather than a lingering malaise, this November snapshot is likely to be taken as more evidence that once infection rates subside the economy will be in good enough shape to withstand further interest rate rises, to keep a lid on soaring inflation".
"However, there are also indications that supply chain snarl ups may have eased, with car output rising and construction materials reportedly easier to source, which could help limit the rise in prices to some extent.'"
In equity markets, electricals retailer Currys was in the red after it reported a fall in sales over the peak Christmas period as a tough comparator year, uneven customer demand and supply disruption hit revenues.
Credit-checking firm Experian lost ground even as it reported a 14% rise in third-quarter revenue, driven by growth across all geographical units as it lifted annual guidance.
Discount retailer B&M European Value Retail was under the cosh after SSA Investments sold 40m shares in the company - a 4% stake - in a placing.
On the upside, Cineworld gained after saying it had successfully generated positive cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2021 thanks to steady growth in performances and attendances over the period.
Housebuilder Berkeley Group was lifted by an upgrade to 'buy' from 'hold' at Deutsche Bank.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,562.48 -0.02%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,870.29 -0.38%
techMARK (TASX) 4,469.50 0.10%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 523.20p 2.31%
Relx plc (REL) 2,219.00p 1.51%
BP (BP.) 389.65p 1.50%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 200.70p 1.39%
National Grid (NG.) 1,079.60p 1.22%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 54.61p 1.19%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,538.00p 1.16%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,066.50p 1.14%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 250.90p 1.09%
Barclays (BARC) 219.45p 1.08%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Mail (RMG) 500.00p -4.98%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 570.60p -4.36%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,142.50p -3.22%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,473.50p -3.00%
Evraz (EVR) 587.80p -2.75%
Halma (HLMA) 2,709.00p -2.55%
Rightmove (RMV) 708.40p -2.37%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 1,118.00p -2.27%
Croda International (CRDA) 8,408.00p -2.14%
Kingfisher (KGF) 334.00p -2.05%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Countryside Properties (CSP) 350.60p 7.28%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,788.00p 4.95%
NCC Group (NCC) 224.00p 3.46%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 197.95p 3.34%
Drax Group (DRX) 608.50p 3.31%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 39.93p 2.94%
Great Portland Estates (GPOR) 774.50p 2.24%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 245.20p 2.17%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 225.00p 2.04%
Contour Global (GLO) 189.60p 1.83%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 288.40p -7.15%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 256.00p -6.09%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 17.02p -4.81%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 1,192.00p -4.18%
Currys (CURY) 108.30p -3.65%
Trainline (TRN) 245.00p -3.31%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 334.40p -3.18%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 225.60p -3.18%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 1,316.00p -3.09%
Allianz Technology Trust (ATT) 301.00p -3.06%