UPDATE: FTSE 100 takes topsy-turvy turn as pound, Fed decision take center stage
By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
Retail shares extend gains after strong August sales report
U.K. stocks were whipped around Wednesday, with retail shares stretching gains after monthly British retail sales leapt past expectations, but a brief surge in the pound pulled the benchmark FTSE 100 to session lows.
All the moves were made before Wednesday's marquee event for global markets took place: the U.S. Federal Reserve's September policy decision.
The FTSE 100 index was up 0.1% at 5,243.25 after opening slightly in the red. On Tuesday, the London benchmark rose 0.3%. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-gets-a-lift-from-supermarket-stocks-softer-pound-2017-09-19)
Retail stocks on Wednesday extended gains after U.K. retail sales in August grew 1% month-over-month (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-retail-sales-rise-faster-than-expected-2017-09-20) as consumers picked up items at department stores and purchased home improvement products. That figure was well above FactSet's consensus estimate for a 0.2% increase. Sales growth of 2.4% year-over-year was also above expectations.
Shares of department store chain Marks & Spencer Group PLC (MKS.LN) (MKS.LN) jumped 2.3%, and apparel and home furnishings seller Next PLC (NXT.LN) climbed 1.2%.
Home improvement retailer Kingfisher PLC (KGF.LN) was up 5.8%, leading in price performance Wednesday. Kingfisher said it's on track to meet targets in the second year of its five-year restructuring plan, as it raised its dividend. But first-half profit fell 6% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/kingfisher-pretax-profit-hurt-by-weak-french-sales-2017-09-20), and the company stayed cautious in its outlook for its core U.K. and French markets.