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Financial stocks lift London's FTSE 100; Taylor Wimpey jumps

08/04/2021 | 11:54am EDT
FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange offices in the City of London, Britain

(Reuters) -London's FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday, helped by heavyweight financial stocks and strong corporate earnings updates, although investors' mood remained cautious over rising COVID-19 infections and risks of higher inflation.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index inched up 0.2%, helped by financial stocks which gained 1.6% with Prudential, Legal and General, and Barclays among the top boosts to the index.

Insurer and asset manager Legal & General gained 3.2% and was the third biggest gainer on the FTSE 100 after beating estimates for first-half profit and signalling a strong full year.

Taylor Wimpey added 2.2% as it joined bigger rivals in forecasting sustained demand and projected annual operating profit above the top end of market consensus.

"Higher selling prices, strong forward sales and a rapid recovery in profits at housebuilder Taylor Wimpey in the first half will all help to soothe investors' nerves over what may happen to the UK housing market, as a new "Help to Buy" scheme starts and the stamp duty holiday comes to an end," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Homebuilders have gained nearly 1% this year on higher demand for homes amid lockdowns and government tax breaks, although a survey last month pointed towards a cooling housing market.

The FTSE 100 began the month on a strong note and recorded gains for the third straight session, supported by robust earnings and dividend cheer, as investors straddle the fence between inflation concerns and re-opening optimism.

The domestically focused mid-cap index inched 0.1% higher, with travel and real estate stocks leading the gains.

Among other stocks, British e-commerce company The Hut Group rose 1.4% after it said it would buy UK-based online beauty retailer Cult Beauty for 275 million pounds ($382.91 million).

Rolls-Royce gained 1.4% as a Spanish newspaper report said the company is set to sell its Spain-based ITP Aero unit to U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital and Spanish group Sener for 1.6 billion euros ($1.9 billion).

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V)

By Shashank Nayar and Amal S


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ANGLO AMERICAN PLC -4.65% 2467 Delayed Quote.1.90%
BHP GROUP -4.16% 37.53 End-of-day quote.-11.55%
FTSE 100 -0.86% 6903.91 Delayed Quote.7.79%
FTSE MID 250 INDEX -1.09% 23401.72 Delayed Quote.15.48%
RIO TINTO PLC -2.39% 4738.5 Delayed Quote.-13.82%
TAYLOR WIMPEY PLC -0.60% 166.35 Delayed Quote.0.33%
THG PLC -6.05% 560 Delayed Quote.-28.27%
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