Insurers, retailers lift London's FTSE 100; jumps

Asia's Tech News Daily

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain

By Shashank Nayar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -London's FTSE 100 ended higher on Tuesday, aided by gains in insurers and retail stocks, while price comparison website was the top gainer in the mid-cap index after it agreed to buy cashback business Quidco.

After falling as much as 0.2%, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index rebounded to end 0.2% higher with insurers and retailers leading gains.

British Airways owner IAG was the top loser, down 5.8% after brokerage Berenberg downgraded stock to “hold” from “buy”, cut its price target on the stock to 200 pence from 230.

However, expectations the Bank of England could hike rates towards the end of this year on rising inflation and supply chain pressures pushed the pound to its one-month high of 1.3810, limiting gains on the export-oriented FTSE 100 index.

“The more that we see inflation data and put the pressure back on the central banks, the more pressure that is going to materialize on the markets as well,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.

The FTSE 100 has gained 11.7% so far this year on accomodative central bank policies and positive corporate results, although bets of a rate hike have recently weighed on the index as higher rates could dampen the pace of UK's economic recovery.

Investors now await key UK inflation data due to be released on Wednesday for cues on further price pressures.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index advanced 0.5%, with consumer discretionary stocks being among the top performers.

Shares of British price comparison website jumped 8.9% to be the top gainer in the mid-cap index after it agreed to buy cashback business Quidco for an initial consideration of 87 million pounds.

Bellway Plc rose 1.6% after a significant increase in annual profits and an increase in its target of new homes for the year ending July 2022.

Online gaming company 888 Holdings dropped 2.1% after announcing that it expects a negative impact to 2022 EBITDA in its latest trading update.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Amal S; editing by Uttaresh.V, Krishna Chandra Eluri and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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