UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 posts third consecutive week of gains on vaccine hopes, Brexit optimism

Reuters

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    * Retail sales stronger than expected in October
    * UK economy to double-dip after second lockdown -poll
    * EU says Brexit deal still 'metres from the finish line'
    * Sage Group drops on weak annual results
    * FTSE 100 up 0.3%, FTSE 250 flat

 (Adds comment; updates to close)
    By Devik Jain
    Nov 20 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 inched higher on
Friday, logging its third straight week of gains, on the
prospect of easing coronavirus restrictions, optimism around a
vaccine and hopes of a Brexit trade deal with the European
Union.
    After rising as much as 0.8% in afternoon trade, the
blue-chip index  .FTSE  closed 0.3% higher, boosted by aero
 .FTNMX2710  and pharmaceutical  .FTNMX4570  stocks, with energy
 .FTNMX0530  and mining  .FTNMX1770  shares also tracking
commodity prices higher.  O/R   METL 
    The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250  .FTMC  ended
flat, after rising 0.5% during the day.
    Data showed British retail sales rose a
higher-than-anticipated 1.2% in October ahead of the recent
restrictions, while consumer confidence sank to a six-month low
in November.
    A Reuters poll found Britain is on course for a double-dip
recession as a result of the renewed lockdown measures.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2I53VC urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2I52M6 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2I53VC
    "We are having catch-up of exuberance around a possible
vaccine and an end to the COVID-19 uncertainty," said Edward
Park, chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald.
    "Market is taking all data with a pinch of salt because
there's so much uncertainty about how the level of restrictions
will need to be over the coming few weeks."
    Meanwhile, UK Health Secretary said Britain may allow a
Christmas period with less stringent restrictions as domestic
coronavirus cases were starting to flatten. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2I61MY
    The FTSE 100 rose only 0.5% for the week, following a jump
of about 13% in the past two weeks, as uncertainty over Brexit
negotiations also capped gains. 
    The EU's chief executive said on Friday better progress
towards a trade deal with Britain had been made the last few
days, but there was still a lot of work to do for an agreement
to be in place by the end-year deadline.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2I61SQ
    Among other stock movers, Sage Group Plc  SGE.L  tumbled
13.4% after the software firm reported a 3.7% drop in full-year
organic operating profit.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nASN000JTR
    British Land  BLND.L  fell 1.1% after Barclays cut its
target price on the stock. 

 (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips and Sriraj Kalluvila)
 ((Devik.Jain@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780;
outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2062; ;))
 
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