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UK's FTSE 100 nears 6-Month Highs on Signs of Slower Interest Rate Hikes

  • Real estate stocks climb despite weak data
  • Food delivery stocks gain on Jefferies comment
  • Oil stocks fall on lower crude prices
  • FTSE 100 up 0.1%, FTSE 250 adds 0.7%

Dec 1 (Reuters) - London's blue-chip shares edged toward six-month highs on Thursday after a strong performance in November, on signs the U.S. Federal Reserve will temper its pace of interest rate hikes.

The FTSE 100 index edged up 0.1%, hovering near its strongest level since June 8, even as oil stocks fell 1.5%, as crude prices dipped with uncertainty lingering ahead of Sunday's OPEC+ meeting.

The domestically focussed FTSE 250 jumped 0.7%, mirroring an upbeat mood in global equities after Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday signalled a slowdown in the pace of monetary tightening.

"The macro environment is going to continue to drive market sentiment up," said Richard Flax, chief investment officer at Moneyfarm.

"If we continue to see macro data that is favourable, indicating that inflationary pressures will continue to weaken, central banks will be able to reach peak policy rates at perhaps a slightly lower level than was expected a few months ago."

Real estate stocks led gains, up 1.9% even as data showed house prices tumbled 1.4% in November compared with a 0.9% fall in October, the biggest monthly drop since June 2020.

"Housebuilder shares, already heavily beaten down this year, were higher on the Nationwide data. This shows how the market has already priced in a lot of bad news regarding the property market," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Food delivery stocks like Ocado gained 5.1% after Jefferies said in a note there is an attractive EBITDA stream in the sector currently mispriced by the market.

Shares of education group Pearson fell 3.4% after Exane BNP Paribas downgraded the stock rating to "neutral" from "outperform".

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shinjini Ganguli

Source: Reuters

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