Meanwhile, disappointing retail data weighed heavily on the pound, which fell by 0.5 percent against the dollar, but remained flat against the euro. The Office for National Statistics reported that month on month retail sales were down by 0.3 percent in January, and rising food and fuel prices have put pressure on consumer spending. This meant that supermarkets struggled, with M&S being one that reported falling sales.
In terms of UK-focused stocks, Rolls-Royce struggled, with the company suffering from a credit rating downgrade from Fitch. The company recently reported a pre-tax loss of £4.64 billion for last year - one of the biggest losses in corporate history. A large portion of their losses were caused b a writedown after the collapse of the pound. The company has also been ordered to pay a penalty of £671 million to settle bribery allegations.
The biggest risers in the index were Unilever, up by 449.5p, and Coca Coler, up by 77p. Reckitt Benkiser and Imperial Brands also profited. Meanwhile, Standard Chartered, Rolls-Royce and Royal Dutch Shell’s B shares were among the poorest performers for the day.