File photo: AFP
World stock markets largely climbed Friday after another tech-led rout on Wall Street. London's benchmark FTSE 100 gained approaching the half-way stage, a weak pound boosting share prices of the index's multinationals earning in dollars.
Sterling has slumped this week as sparring between Britain and the European Union raised the prospect they will not reach a post-Brexit trade agreement.
"UK markets are making tentative gains... with a UK-Japan trade deal agreement providing a rare boost for sentiment in a week that has been dominated by pessimism," said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG trading group.
Britain on Friday said it had secured its first major post-Brexit trade agreement -- a free trade deal with Japan -- amid bitter wranglings with the European Union.
The Department for International Trade said the deal, which largely replicates the current EU-Japan deal, will be worth £15.2 billion ($19.5 billion, 16.5 billion euros).
"Brexit is back in focus... hopes of a new US fiscal stimulus have faded even more alongside an uptick in jobless claims, meanwhile the EU has surpassed the US in new COVID-19 cases," said National Australia Bank's Rodrigo Catril.
"All of this against a backdrop of elevated equity prices" which has triggered a slump among tech stocks in the United States.
There was more disappointment from Washington after a $500 billion relief package -- aimed at the most pressing areas -- failed to pass the Republican-led Senate, making a second round of much needed help for Americans unlikely any time soon.
Democrats voted against the bill, meaning Republicans could not get the 60 votes needed to get it through, as they said it was too small to help people.
The proposed amount was half of what Republicans had previously pushed for, and a quarter of the Democrats' plan.
Elsewhere, European stock market operator Euronext is in negotiations with the London Stock Exchange Group to buy the Milan stock market, the companies announced Friday.
LSEG is prepared to sell the Milan exchange to win approval by the EU Commission of its planned purchase of US financial data provider Refinitiv.
Euronext operates the exchanges of Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, Oslo and Paris.
In Asia, a $2-billion-plus deal for a South Korean property developer to take over loss-making Asiana Airlines collapsed Friday in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with state-owned banks mounting a bailout to try to save 9,000 jobs.
- Key figures around 1100 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 6,031.85 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 13,194.22
Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 5,024.40
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,310.31
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.8 percent at 23,406.49 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 24,503.31 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,260.35 (close)
New York - Dow: DOWN 1.5 percent at 27,534.58 (close)
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2829 from $1.2805 at 2110 GMT
Euro/pound: UP at 92.49 pence from 92.26 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1858 from $1.1868
Dollar/yen: UP at 106.19 yen from 106.13 yen
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.1 percent at $37.34 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $39.98 per barrel