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UK's FTSE 100 at 20-month highs after Reckitt forecast lift

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By Reuters
Miners weigh on FTSE 100 as investors await UK budget
Miners weigh on FTSE 100 as investors await UK budget   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Amal S

-London’s FTSE 100 rose for a third straight session on Tuesday, boosted by consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser after it lifted its sales forecast, while the global mood was buoyed by record highs on Wall Street indexes.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.8% to hit a high since February 2020 after S&P 500 notched a record high.[.N]

Lysol cleaning products maker Reckitt Benckiser jumped 6.3% after it raised its full-year forecast as higher sales of cold and flu remedies and price hikes helped it beat analysts’ estimates for third-quarter sales.

E-commerce group THG fell 20.5% after it posted a mixed finiancial results and named an executive from backer SoftBank to its board and is seeking an independent chair.

Premier Inn-owner Whitbread climbed 4.4 after reporting a much smaller half-year loss and saying that it expected a full recovery by 2022.

While record-low interest rates and easing of pandemic restrictions have aided FTSE 100’s 12.4% recovery this year, the index has underperformed its European and U.S. peers due to a large presence of volatile commodity stocks.

“Strong corporate results are helping with sentiment. Tomorrow’s Budget in the UK and Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting may help return the wider economy to the forefront of investors’ minds,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell. “Whether this will be supportive or have a negative impact on markets remains to be seen.”

With expectations of an interest rate hike next month running high, a Bank of England rate-setter Silvana Tenreyro said on Monday she saw no urgency to raise rates, adopting a different approach than Governor Andrew Bailey who signalled last week that the BoE would act to contain inflation risks. [L8N2RL4BP]

The domestically focussed mid-cap index advanced 1.0, helped by gains in consumer discretionary stocks.

IT services and consulting firm Softcat Plc slid -1.4% after reporting full-year earnings.

BT gained 6.3% to the top of the FTSE 100 index on reports that the company has hired boutique advisory group Robey Warshaw to strengthen its defences against a possible takeover bid.

Meanwhile, Entain fell 6.2% after betting firm DraftKings walked away from a $22 billion attempt to buy the gambling group.