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FTSE 100 ends higher, lockdown anxiety hits mid-caps

Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal
·2-min read
Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London
Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London

By Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 index ended higher on Monday as Ocado led gains after raising its full year earnings outlook, while mid-caps fell, as England faced the prospect of entering a nearly one-month lockdown later in the week.

The online supermarket and technology group jumped 8% in its best session in nearly two months. It said it would buy two robotics companies for a total of $287 million (222 million pounds).

The food and drugs retailer sub-index gained 3.7%, while the blue-chip FTSE 100 had its best day in two weeks, rising 1.4%.

The domestically-focussed FTSE 250 shed 0.2% as England was set to impose new business restrictions after midnight on Thursday until Dec. 2.

James Smith, developed market economist at ING expects the lockdown to shave roughly 6% to 7% off Britain's monthly GDP for November, but says "the economy probably won't be hit as hard as in April... the most obvious explanation for this is that this lockdown is not as restrictive."

The FTSE 100 in October posted its biggest monthly decline since the pandemic-driven crash in March as fears mounted of a faltering economic recovery. A Reuters poll of economists suggested the economy was on course to contract 10% this year, its worst performance since the early 1700s.

The government on Saturday announced a one-month return to 80% wage subsidies for people temporarily laid off, while the Bank of England is likely to announce a 100 billion-pound expansion of its bond buying stimulus at its policy meeting on Thursday.

Pub and restaurant operators J D Wetherspoon Plc, Mitchells & Butlers Plc and Marton's fell by between 0.8% and 7.6%.

Brexit progress was also in focus. European Union and British negotiators are to continue talks in Brussels as both sides seek to avoid a damaging breakdown in trade.

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Barbara Lewis)