UPDATE 2-London stocks rise on earnings boost, virus worries cap gains

UPDATE 2-London stocks rise on earnings boost, virus worries cap gains

Reuters  | Jan 15, 2021 01:40

UPDATE 2-London stocks rise on earnings boost, virus worries cap gains

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* Whitbread gains on lower job cuts than expected
* Primark owner AB Foods jumps on higher sales expectations
* British housing market boom fades - survey
* FTSE 100 up 0.8%, FTSE 250 adds 0.8%

(Updates to close)
By Shashank Nayar
Jan 14 (Reuters) - British shares ended higher on Thursday
as a slew of upbeat corporate earnings supported investor
sentiment at a time when rising cases of COVID-19 and fresh
lockdowns across Europe raised concerns about fiscal health.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE gained 0.8%, after
three consecutive sessions of declines, with mining .FTNMX1770
and energy stocks .FTNMX0530 gaining the most.
"Investors are more or less sitting on the sidelines and
trade is expected to be subdued as the market waits for more
forward earnings guidance from corporates to assess the damage
from climbing virus cases," said Andrea Cicione, head of
strategy at TS Lombard.
Miners BHP Group BHPB.L and Rio Tinto RIO.L were the top
boosts to the index after data showed copper and iron ore
imports by China, the biggest metals consumer, hit record highs
in 2020. The mid-cap index .FTMC gained 0.8%, with travel stocks
easyJet EZJ.L and TUI AG TUIT.L being the top boosts.
Holiday company TUI gained 5% after it said the vaccine
roll-out in Britain had boosted summer bookings from those aged
50 and over, with that age group accounting for 50% of all web
bookings since the end of last year.
The FTSE 100 has recorded consistent monthly gains since
November, supported by hopes of a vaccine-led economic recovery,
but it has recently lost steam as a wave of coronavirus
infections sparked new business restrictions.
A boom in Britain's housing market has started to fade,
dampened by new COVID-19 lockdowns and the coming expiry of a
temporary tax cut for buyers, a survey showed. Homebuilder Taylor Wimpey TW.L jumped 2.5% after saying
its 2020 operating profit would meet market expectations, while
Premier Inn-owner Whitbread WTB.L gained 4.3% on lower job
cuts than earlier expected. Primark owner AB Foods ABF.L rose 1.2% after it said it is
confident of strong growth upon reopening, but warned of higher
loss of sale if current lockdowns last till March. = 0.7310 pounds)

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