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FTSE Edges Higher as Corporate Updates Buoy Sentiment

  • ITV jumps on report of interest in studios asset
  • Vodafone slips as Q3 results disappoint
  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 adds 0.6%

Feb 1 (Reuters) - UK stocks rose on Wednesday on a slate of positive corporate updates, with gains tempered by concerns about a slowing British economy and upcoming interest rate decisions from major central banks.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 gained 0.2%, while the midcap FTSE 250 index climbed 0.6%.

The broader European markets edged higher in cautious trading ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy decision expected to result in a 25 basis point rate hike.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are scheduled to publish their policy decisions on Thursday and expectations are both the central banks will hike rates by 50 bps each.

"Even if the Fed does halt rate hikes in the near future, the federal funds rate is likely to remain at its terminal position for an extended period until the rate of inflation recedes substantially," said Richard Flynn, UK managing director at Charles Schwab.

Among single stocks, Entain climbed 2.6% after the gambling firm raised its annual profit forecast.

ITV rose 3% after Reuters reported veteran Hollywood producer Peter Chernin and French TV production group Banijay's parent had expressed interest in the British broadcaster's Studios unit.

Darktrace shares added 1.7% after the cybersecurity firm announced share buybacks, a day after a short-seller report knocked its shares by as much as 10%.

The FTSE 100 logged its best January since 2013 on Tuesday, having come close to its record highs. The FTSE 250 notched 5.3% monthly rise but remains sharply off its 2021 highs.

"It's been mixed fortunes for the FTSEs but we could see a recovery in domestic stocks since the pessimism has been very high. UK will be driven by the global economy to certain extent, so there is potential for a recovery," said Roger Jones, head of equities at London & Capital.

Glencore slipped after the London-listed miner said its copper production fell 12% in 2022, while Anglo American dropped 2.2% after it reported results.

Vodafone fell 2.2% after the mobile and broadband operator reported a steeper-than expected slowdown in its third quarter.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng and Sriraj Kalluvila

Source: Reuters

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