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London's FTSE 100 rebounds on Vodafone signal

London's FTSE 100 rebounds on Vodafone signal
FILE PHOTO: Traders work at their desks whilst screens show market data at CMC Markets in London, Britain, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley -
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JOHN SIBLEY(Reuters)
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By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 recovered on Friday as Vodafone jumped on plans to create a separate European tower company and education firm Pearson gained after an upbeat trading update, even as miners weighed.

The FTSE 100 index <.FTSE> added 0.1% by 0742 GMT, with gains capped by a drop in Anglo American <AAL.L>, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 <.FTMC> was largely unchanged.

Vodafone <VOD.L> surged 8.1%, its biggest one-day rise in six years, after laying out plans to separate its mobile mast infrastructure in 10 European markets into a new organisation that it could potentially list.

Pearson <PSON.L>, the world’s biggest education company, climbed 5.2% after saying it had traded well in the first half of 2019 as its strategy to shift away from textbooks towards digital begins to pay off.

Miners <.FTNMX1770>, however, weighed on the main bourse with a 5.4% drop in Anglo American <AAL.L> after its biggest shareholder Anil Agarwal said he was divesting the nearly 20% stake, and as copper prices fell after comments from the European Central Bank (ECB) dampened rate cut hopes.

Among smaller stocks, baby products retailer Mothercare <MTC.L> slumped 12% after saying its annual underlying pretax profit would not grow, as it battles an uncertain and volatile home market.

The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 is on course for its second consecutive month of gains, buoyed by hopes of more stimulus from central banks globally and weakness in sterling in the backdrop of Brexit woes.

While the ECB played down the possibility of a near-term rate cut, investors are still hopeful that the U.S. Federal Reserve will side with softer policy at its meeting next week.

The FTSE 100 suffered its first and only monthly fall this year in May when U.S.-China trade tensions flared and led to a volley of tariffs from the world’s two biggest economies.

Retailer Sports Direct <SPD.L>, which is controlled by Mike Ashley, lost 4% on the FTSE 250 index as full-year results due at 0600 GMT were not released.

“A delay on top of a delay does not look good. Investors will take it as a bad sign although we’re not sure if it’s just a technical glitch or something more serious,” Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson said.

On the other hand, Airtel Africa <AAF.L>, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange this year, rose 2% after reporting a quarterly pretax profit that more than doubled, as it signed more customers for its mobile and data services.

(Reporting by Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams and Shounak Dasgupta)

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