By Shashank Nayar and Amal S
(Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 ended higher on Tuesday, led by mining and retail stocks, while rising cases of a new COVID-19 variant in Europe and Asia stoked fears of a slower economic recovery.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index edged 0.2% higher, with miners including Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP providing the biggest boost to the index.
Homebuilders advanced 0.8% and were among the top gainers after mortgage lender Nationwide said British house prices rose by 13.4% in June compared with a year earlier, the biggest annual increase since November 2004.
"The key issue is whether we're at the peak of the activity as buyers rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday which starts to taper from the start of July," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.
The FTSE 100 has gained 0.9% so far this year, although new coronavirus variant cases and inflation worries have kept the index range-bound recently near its 7,000 level.
Rising cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 benefited online retail stocks including Just Eat Takeaway.com and Ocado Group which rose 1.7% and 0.7% respectively.
"In terms of what it has done to the stock market, it hit the airlines a little bit and benefited "stay at home" stocks," said Keith Temperton, equity sales trader at Forte Securities.
Global sentiment weakened, with most Asian stock markets trading lower on concerns that new coronavirus outbreaks in the region could undercut an economic recovery. [MKTS/GLOB]
The domestically focussed mid-cap index ended flat.
Barratt Developments gained 0.4% after naming Mike Scott as its chief financial officer. Scott is at present finance chief at Countryside Properties.
UDG Healthcare inched 0.3% higher after it confirmed that private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice had raised its offer to buy the London-listed firm to 2.76 billion pounds ($3.83 billion).
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Alexander Smith)