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FTSE 100 supported by financial, travel stocks; mid-caps at record high

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By Reuters
Healthcare, consumer stocks support FTSE 100; mid-caps hit record highs
Healthcare, consumer stocks support FTSE 100; mid-caps hit record highs   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Shashank Nayar and Amal S

– London’s FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday, lifted by gains in financial and travel-related stocks, while investors assessed risks from rising COVID-19 infections globally and easing economic growth.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 ended 0.3% higher, rising for a fourth straight session, with HSBC Holdings, Lloyd’s Group, Flutter Entertainment, Standard Chartered and Ocado Group among the top performers.

The banking sector climbed 2% as it tracked gains in benchmark bond yields, which rose for a third day, while travel stocks extended gains for a fourth session.

“The travel sector continues to enjoy some strength amid hopes for the easing of restrictions with a dip in the pound also helping to lift the UK’s flagship index,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell in a note.

Global equity markets were lacklustre as investors shifted their focus towards the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual symposium on Friday for any hints regarding the timeline for Fed’s tapering of asset purchases. [MKTS/GLOB]

The FTSE 100 has risen nearly 29% from its October 2020 lows as the economy starts to recover from pandemic-related lockdowns.

But fears that the recovery could stall as central banks begin to discuss tapering their asset purchases have weighed on the pace of growth.

Limiting Wednesday’s advances were consumer goods makers including Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser, and supermarket group Sainsbury’s, all down between 0.3% and 1.2%.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index ended 0.4% higher after touching a record of 24,058.93.

Waste management firm Augean surged 17.5% after it said it had agreed to a buyout offer of 341 million pounds ($468 million) from a group affiliated to London-based investment manager Ancala Partners LLP.

“This continuing global corporate raid suggests bidders still see a lot of untapped value in the UK market,” Hewson said.

British subprime lender Amigo dropped 4.5% after it said its losses increased substantially in the last financial year.

In signs of steady interest for UK corporates, activist investor Cevian Capital pushed its stake in insurer Aviva above 5%, according to a stock exchange filing.

(Graphic: Banks lead FTSE 100 gains, but still underperforms the index since June –