The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) ticked upwards in early trade in London despite a set of weak UK retail data and warnings about the future of the high street.
Despite the release of pent-up demand after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the pace of recovery on the high street was slowing and more town centre sites were falling vacant.
Its monthly retail sales monitor showed annual sales growth of 6.4% in July, well down on the three-month average of 14.7%.
The BRC has called for business rates reform in order to ensure the future of bricks-and-mortar retail.
There was also a strong trading update from property developer Bellway (BWY.L) which said its housing revenue rose by 41% to over £3.1bn and was only 2.5% below the level achieved in financial year 2019. Shares ticked up 0.4% in early trade. Bellway made small gains of 0.1%.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.1% in early trade.
Analysts pointed to concerns surrounding the Delta variant of COVID-19 as the reason for caution.
«The Dow and S&P 500 retraced from their record highs as bears took control of major indices,» said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.
«Having said that, rise in delta cases may be more of temporary issue as vaccination numbers continue to increase in the US and in other parts of the world.»
Yesterday, new Labor Department data showed US job vacancies had jumped by 590,000 to 10.1 million on the last day of the month.
That was up from a record 9.5 million openings in May and well above economists’ expectations.
The gains came even as key regions tightened coronavirus restrictions on Delta fears.
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