U.K. Shares Tick Up, But Struggling Around Technical Level

U.K. stocks edged higher on Thursday, with retail stocks soaring after government data showed U.K. retail sales easily beat expectations. Mining shares also contributed to the bullish sentiment, spurred by higher metals prices as the U.S. dollar retreated ahead of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Congress later today.

The Office for National Statistics on Thursday reported that the country’s retail sales grew by 7.4% last month compared with the same period one year ago. On a monthly basis, sales rose by 1.9%, significantly topping economists’ expectations calling for 0.4% month-over-month increase.

U.K. retail sales grew at the fastest annual pace in nearly 15 years in October, driven by cooler temperature last month and stronger-than-usual Halloween sales at supermarkets. British shoppers were not only willing to buy more winter clothing but also snapped up Halloween costumes and treats.

Shares of apparel and home furnishing retailer Next PLC added 1.38%, while those of Marks & Spencer picked up 0.51%. Supermarket chain J Sainsbury PLC gained 0.42%. Mining shares were also trading higher. Anglo American PLC rose 1.46% and BHP Billiton PLC ticked 0.84% higher.

Shares of CRH PLC turned higher on Thursday, advancing 1.81% after the Dublin-based building materials supplier reported positive sales result and confirmed its full-year guidance.

On the down side, Royal Mail PLC led decliners, plummeting nearly 6.0%. Dragged down by shrinking marketing activity after the Brexit vote in June, the postal service posted a decline in its half-year net profit.

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Fig: FTSE H4 Technical Chart

FTSE 100 index has been supported by the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement at 6742.80 since the start of this week. However, the U.K. stocks benchmark has also been under downward pressure from two MAs hanging above the price action. As can be seen from the chart, recent candles showed long lower shadows, which indicate firm support. The price is expected to edge higher, as indicated by the Stochastic chart, where the %K line has crossed over the %D line from below.

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