High street sales at small and medium sized retailers enjoyed their best June for six years, with the warm weather helping clothing and fashion to strut its stuff for the first time this year.
Shares in Centrica, the owner of British Gas, were cooking on gas on Friday sparked by whispers of a takeover.
Stocks were being called to begin the session with slight losses ahead of the release of the all-important monthly US jobs report.
The FTSE 100 was in the red late on Thursday afternoon as ex-dividend stocks and a higher pound dragged the benchmark down.
London's main stock indices ended the session lower as government bond yields continued climbing higher on expectations for tighter monetary policy around the world, although a late move higher in lenders' shares allowed them to trim earlier losses.
Macquarie stayed at 'underperform' on shares of Barclays ahead of the lender's second quarter numbers due on 28 July, telling clients that management's front-loading of expenses – particularly those related to ring-fencing its UK bank – was set to combine with softer revenues at its investment banking arm during the second quarter, weighing on its return on capital.
Britain's most powerful financial lobby group warned the UK may lose its status as Europe's top financial centre if it fails to keep its borders open to specialist staff, improve infrastructure and expands links with emerging economies.
Food producers were the top rising sector on Thursday thanks entirely to Associated British Foods, a major sugar producer, bread baker, food and ingredients producer under brands such as Twinings Ovaltine and Australia's George Weston Foods.
The European Union and Japan have struck a trade deal to open up the South East Asian country to European exports with an estimated value of around €20bn.
A wave of selling hit European stocks following what some market commentary labelled as a “soft” auction for 30-year French government debt which sent yields flying.