Economic news

London Stocks Rise on Optimism over Swift Economic Recovery

April 1 (Reuters) - British shares tracked gains in Asian peers on Thursday, lifted by hopes of a swifter economic rebound this year, while Quilter rose after agreeing to sell its international business to Utmost Group.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.5%, with industrials and bank stocks, mainly BAE Systems Plc, Relx Plc, Prudential Financial Inc and Barclays Plc, being the biggest gainers.

Mining stocks, including Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP, were also among the biggest boosts on the index.

“Despite the optimism surrounding the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in a select group of countries, the virus continues to wreak havoc elsewhere,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, OANDA wrote in a note.

“The widening restrictions globally should be bullish for technology at the margins, but will most keenly be felt in energy markets.”

Global equities crept higher on hopes of a stronger U.S. economy, as investors parsed details of a $2 trillion government spending plan and hoped for strong jobs data later in the week.

The FTSE 100 has risen 4.6% so far this year, supported by speedy vaccine rollouts and a raft of economic stimulus. But a recent spike in virus cases across Europe has made investors cautious.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index climbed 0.7%, led by industrials and consumer discretionary stocks.

Quilter rose 3.7%, after it agreed to sell its international business to specialist life assurance company Utmost Group for 483 million pounds ($664.37 million), as it sharpens its focus on its UK wealth management unit.

Fashion retailer Next rose 3.2%, even after it reported a halving in annual pretax profit after lockdowns closed its stores but raised its forecast for a big rebound this year.

Investment company 3i Infrastructure slid 0.3%, after it agreed to invest 182 million euros ($213.23 million) for a 60% stake in German telecommunications provider DNS:NET.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

Source: Reuters


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