Breaking a four-day losing streak, the pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> advanced 0.6%, with London's FTSE 100 <.FTSE> outperforming its European peers after Barclays <BARC.L> jumped 7% on strong results. "Better than expected results from Barclays triggered renewed interest in banking shares, most of which are trading on depressed levels so value investors will be particularly interested," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell. "Opposite forces are in play at the moment," said Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index <.FTSE> closed up 0.2%, while the domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 <.FTMC> ended 0.6% higher after opening lower. Sunak announced new measures to help protect jobs, easing the eligibility for his jobs support scheme, reducing the cost for employers, and announcing new cash grants for affected businesses. "Today's move (by Sunak) is a recognition of the economic impact of tier two restrictions and the fact that the COVID-19 situation in the UK is worsening rather than improving," said Edward Park, chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald Asset Management.
The export-heavy FTSE 100 index <.FTSE> closed 1.9% lower, dragged down by travel and leisure <.FTNMX5750>, pharmaceutical <.FTNMX4570> industrial <.FTNMX2720> and financial <.FTNMX8770> stocks. The domestically-focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index <.FTMC> lost 0.8%, with gold miner Centamin Plc <CEY.L> tumbling 19.2% to the bottom of index after cutting its 2020 production forecast. New tiered restrictions in parts of England due to a resurgence in novel coronavirus cases and an impasse over a Brexit trade deal have pressured UK markets this week, with data also signalling a slowing domestic recovery.