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UK Stocks Rise, Media Stocks Gain, Shell Drags Energy Index

  • Energy shares fall on drop on Shell Q2 profits
  • Barclays down on investment banking forecast miss
  • Informa jumps on upbeat outlook
  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 adds 0.8%

July 27 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 edged higher on Thursday as gains in media stocks, led by upbeat outlook from Informa and investors' hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve would stop raising interest rates, overpowered losses in energy shares.

The internationally focussed FTSE 100 rose 0.2%, while the midcap FTSE 250 index added 0.8%.

Media shares gained the most on the index, adding 3.0%, driven by a 4.1% rise in Exhibitions group Informa after it said it was on track to meet the top-end of its full-year forecasts on strong forward bookings and a robust recovery in China.

On the contrary, energy shares slipped 1.1%, the most on the FTSE, after Shell slid 1.8% following a 56% drop in its second-quarter profit.

"Shell, along with those of the other major oil companies, has seen its share price decline from the levels we saw earlier this year, as lower oil and gas prices weighed on expectations when it came to revenues as well as profits," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Investors drew some optimism that the U.S. tightening cycle may be over after the Fed delivered what some expect to be its final rate hike this year, while awaiting the European Central Bank's rate decision later in the day.

The Bank of Japan will announce its rate decision on Friday and is expected to maintain ultra-loose monetary policy.

Among other companies, Centrica rose 5% as it proposed a 33% increase in its interim dividend after posting a jump in first-half profit.

Relx added 3.4% after the European information provider raised its interim dividend by 8% and kept its full-year forecast unchanged on Thursday, saying revenue and profit growth would remain above historical trends.

Meanwhile, Barclays lost 4.6% after the bank warned of growing pressure on its UK business and missed forecasts for its investment banking unit.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shubham Batra in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Sonia Cheema

Source: Reuters

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