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Britain's FTSE snaps three-day rout as banks, energy bounce back

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Britain's FTSE snaps three-day rout as banks, energy bounce back
FILE PHOTO: A man walks under an electronic information board at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/File Photo   -   Copyright  Paul Hackett(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – UK shares rebounded on Wednesday from three-week lows touched a day earlier, led by bank and energy stocks and also bolstered by upbeat results from Johnson Matthey that helped soothe investor concerns about slowing earnings growth.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was up 0.6 percent at 1044 GMT, snapping three days of consecutive losses, with banking and energy sectors accounting for most of the gains so far. The FTSE 250 <.FTMC> was up 0.03 percent.

All major euro-zone bourses were in positive territory as Italian banks rebounded on hopes that Rome may compromise with Brussels over its budget plans, and the battered tech sector recovered after a widespread sell-off prompted by worries over iPhone demand.

Banks <.FTNMX8350> were up 1.6 percent, while oil and gas stocks rose 0.9 percent as crude prices recovered. [O/R]

Otherwise, a mix of earnings, management changes and broker recommendations were driving individual moves.

Johnson Matthey <JMAT.L> topped the blue chip leader board, rising 8.3 percent and on track for its best day in more than a year after delivering an increase in first-half profits, issuing an upbeat outlook and pledging a rise in dividend.

NMC Health was buoyed by a JPMorgan upgrade.

Among the losers, Sage Group <SGE.L> fell 4.1 percent to its weakest in years after the British software provider cautioned about slowing growth and lowered its margin guidance, which analysts said implied a 10-17 percent downgrade.

“The implied share price hit today is probably less negative than the actual forecast cut,” said Investec analysts.

“While the news today is bad, there is an element of kitchen sink with a new CEO coming in, the strategy as laid out seems reasonable enough,” they said.

Kingfisher <KGF.L>, Europe’s second largest home improvement retailer, was 3.2 percent lower after reporting weak quarterly sales in France and announcing plans to exit Russia, Spain and Portugal, which raised questions over its plan to increase profit.

There was plenty of action on the midcap index. Indivior <INDV.L> sank another 14 percent as its full-year guidance earlier in the morning failed to reassure investors after the company lost a legal battle on Tuesday over its blockbuster film-based opioid addiction treatment.

Babcock <BAB.L> hit their lowest in more than seven years after taking a one-off restructuring charge and warning that income from nuclear decommissioning would fall sharply next week. They are down 22 percent in the year to date.

Talktalk <TALK.L> was down 5.5 percent after its trading update and SSP Group <SSPG.L> were on track for their worst day on record as news of the CEO departure offset better-than-expected results.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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