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UK stocks end flat as bank gains overpower energy losses

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London

By Johann M Cherian and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -UK's main stock index ended a volatile session flat on Thursday as gains in banking and consumer stocks offset losses in energy shares.

After two sessions of sharp losses, the blue-chip FTSE 100 paused as banks rose 1.8% on bets of a 70% chance that the Bank of England would deliver a 75-basis-point interest rate hike on Sept. 22. [IRPR]

While data on Wednesday showed that inflation surprisingly fell in August, a BoE survey said the British public's expectations for inflation over the coming year rose to a record high last month.

"We have seen some calm come back into the markets and at the moment, investors seem to be taking the view that perhaps the selloff earlier in the week was overdone," said David Jones, chief market strategist at Capital.com.

The broader theme remained one of worry though as investors fretted over tighter monetary policy by major central banks squeezing global economic growth.

The more domestically oriented FTSE 250 rose 0.2% thanks to gains in consumer discretionary stocks.

Homebuilders rebounded 3.7% after losing more than 3% in each of the last two sessions, as the sector braces for a tough market amid rising mortgage rates and a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

A slump in crude prices due to demand worries sent Shell down 1.1%. The oil and gas behemoth named Wael Sawan, the head of its integrated gas and renewables division, as the new CEO to replace Ben van Beurden, who will step down at year-end.[O/R]

Shares in Britain's Vodafone rose around 2% after a media report said KKR & Co and Global Infrastructure Partners were among suitors for a stake in the group's wireless towers unit Vantage Towers AG.

(Reporting by Johann M Cherian, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Aniruddha Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Rashmi Aich and Devika Syamnath)