Economic news

FTSE 100 Edges Up, Midcaps Hit by Bleak U.S. Tech Results

  • UK stocks set for weekly gains
  • Tech trio set to weigh on Wall St
  • B&M, M&S rise after Deutsche Bank upgrade
  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 off 0.6%

Feb 3 (Reuters) - UK's blue-chip index edged higher on Friday, boosted by gains in oil major Shell and retailer B&M European, while midcaps slid as U.S. tech majors' downbeat results offset optimism over major central banks nearing the end of their rate hike cycle.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.2% after opening lower, with Shell jumping 1.8%, a day after it delivered a record $40 billion profit in 2022.

The FTSE 250 index, however, slid 0.6% as the global mood soured after Wall Street's tech titans Apple Inc, Inc and Alphabet Inc reported dour results.

Still, both the UK equity indexes were heading for weekly gains after dovish comments from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England this week raised hopes that the central banks could pause the rate-hike spree after a series of increases to bring inflation under control.

Bank of England Chief Economist Huw Pill said it was important not to raise borrowing costs too high, a day after the bank raised interest rates to 4% and forecast a shallow recession.

"The post-meeting statement suggests that the BoE is preparing to ease off the brake," analysts BCA Research told clients. "The MPC expects looser labor market conditions and the lagged impact of rate hikes to cool the economy going forward."

Discount retailer B&M gained 2.6% and Marks & Spencer rose 0.7% after Deutsche Bank upgraded their stocks to "buy" from "hold", saying the outlook for retailers is getting less "chilly".

Nanoco Group slumped 25.3% after the nanotechnology company provided a half-year trading update and said it agreed to a $150 million litigation settlement with Samsung Electronics.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shinjini Ganguli

Source: Reuters

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