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(ShareCast News) - Shares of carmakers and lenders were pacing gains in the market even as beverages and personal goods nipped at their heels as some investors sought out safe havens ahead of the elections.
Shares in GKN drove Automobiles&Parts to the biggest percentage gain on the leaderboard after data published in the States on the day before showed most manufacturers delivered stronger-than-expected increases in May.
US auto sales slipped from an annual rate of 17.2m one year ago to 16.7m in May, according to Autodata Corp.; however, that was chiefly due to a sharp 15% fall in Hyundai's sales, even as may of its rivals reported increased sales volumes.
Nevertheless, carmakers were being forced into discounting in order to offset weaker demand.
Banks were also well bid at the end of the week, despite the release of a weaker-than-expected US jobs report for last month.
Investors were confident that the US central bank would be hike rates again when its top brass met on 14-15 June.
Nonetheless, futures markets appeared to indicate that rate-setters were being too optimistic in guiding markets towards yet another hike at the end of 2017.
Friday's job data in the States was likely to reinforce that caution.
Stock in Diageo and Unilever were benefitting from demand for safe havens ahead of the 8 June elections.
Going the other way, outside of precious metals miners were mostly lower.
Although most base metals were trading slightly higher during the first half of the session, iron ore and steel rebar futures were lower.
Spot iron ore was particularly weak, having closed at $54.9 a tonne overnight, down from Thursday's closing mark of $57.9.
Top performing sectors so far today
Automobiles & Parts 8,365.60 +1.30%
Banks 4,383.98 +1.24%
Beverages 19,030.41 +0.98%
Life Insurance 8,451.04 +0.95%
Personal Goods 37,925.87 +0.87%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Industrial Metals & Mining 2,174.99 -2.41%
Mining 14,589.17 -0.92%
Real Estate Investment Trusts 3,015.30 -0.81%
General Retailers 2,627.69 -0.74%
Gas, Water & Multiutilities 6,352.79 -0.72%
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