LONDON -- Until late Thursday, it had been looking as if the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) was heading for its third losing week in a row, as worries about the U.S. budget deadlock affected European stock markets. But as a short-term compromise started to emerge toward the end of the week, the index recovered to finish with a 33-point gain to 6,487.
Britain's housebuilders had a good week in response to the next phase of the government's "Help to Buy" program, which offers guarantees to lenders. Persimmon was the biggest winner, with a 120 pence (11.1%) rise to 1,197 pence. The plan was strengthened by Barclays bank agreeing to join, meaning around two-thirds of the country's mortgage lenders are now on board. Over the past year, the Persimmon price has soared by 62%.
Hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator Whitbread saw its shares pick up 248 pence (8.4%) to end the week at 3,210 pence, amid rumours that the company may be ready to sell off its Costa Coffee chain -- the Costa business enjoyed an 18% jump in sales in the second quarter. Barclays added to the enthusiasm by lifting its target price to 3,420 pence. Whitbread shares are now up 37% over the past 12 months, though dividend yields are low at around 2%.
BAE Systems (LSE:BA)
Despite gaining on the day of the company's third-quarter update, shares in BAE Systems fell back on Friday to end the week 17.5 pence (3.9%) down at 436 pence. Trading for the quarter was in line with expectations announced at halfway time, and double-digit growth in underlying earnings per share for the full year is anticipated -- but that could be affected by 6 to 7 pence if negotiations over the firm's Salam contract do not complete by year-end.
Vedanta Resources (LSE:VED)
A Q2 production update on Wednesday didn't help diversified miner Vedanta, and its stock fell 36 pence (3.4%) to 1,020 pence. Oil and gas production reached a record level of 213,299 barrels of oil equivalent per day for the quarter, but copper output fell and power sales dropped by 29%. Iron ore mining in India has been halted for legal reasons, but after the country's Supreme Court lifted restrictions, Vedanta expects to resume production shortly.
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