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UK Stocks Rise on Strong Miner Earnings, AstraZeneca Trial Data

  • Glencore, BHP announce large dividends
  • AstraZeneca top boost to the FTSE 100
  • FTSE 100 up 0.8%, FTSE 250 up 0.7%

Feb 15 (Reuters) - British stocks rose on Tuesday, as strong earnings from miners Glencore and BHP Group helped investors look past worries over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, while AstraZeneca climbed on positive data from a prostate cancer treatment trial.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.8%, while mid-cap stocks added 0.7%. Both indexes had slumped nearly 2% on Monday, after the United States warned that Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment.

Defensive sectors including healthcare and consumer staples were the top performers on Tuesday, indicating that sentiment was still on edge over the conflict.

AstraZeneca jumped 3.8%, providing the biggest boost to the FTSE 100, after positive results from a late-stage trial on the drugmaker's prostate cancer treatment.

Most heavyweight mining stocks rose on strong results from Glencore and BHP Group , with both firms also announcing large dividend payouts following recent strength in commodity prices.

Glencore shares rose more than 3%, while steep losses in iron prices weighed on BHP. Chinese iron ore prices slumped as traders feared a government crackdown after Beijing warned it would act against the spread of misinformation on prices.

Strong earnings have helped local stocks weather geopolitical tensions, as well as jitters over tightening monetary policy across the globe.

"Corporate earnings in Q4 remained strong despite a multitude of inflation headwinds. The reporting season will continue to provide support, with banks, energy/ materials showing particularly strong increases in earnings," Elisa Belgacem, senior credit strategist at Generali Investments wrote in a note.

The FTSE 100 is one of the few major stock indexes trading positive this year, as its relatively low exposure to technology firms helped it sidestep a global rout in the sector.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Shailesh Kuber

Source: Reuters

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