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Travel, industrial stocks lead UK shares higher; Ashtead Group jumps

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·2-min read
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By Devik Jain and Amal S

(Reuters) -UK shares ended higher on Thursday, lifted by travel and industrial stocks, while Ashtead Group jumped to the top of the blue-chip index after a strong earnings update.

The FTSE-100 rose 0.2%, snapping its two-day losing streak, led by gains in industrial services and travel & leisure stocks, up 1.4% and 2.8% respectively.

The domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.9%, almost recouping the 1.1% drop from the previous session on concerns around spiking inflation.

Limiting further advances were base metal miners down 3.3%, tracking weakness in commodities. [METL] [GOL/]

Rental equipment provider Ashtead climbed 5.3% after it reported a 68% rise in first-quarter adjusted pretax profit and forecast annual results above its earlier expectations.

The FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 indexes have declined about 1% and 1.9%, respectively, so far this month as a better-than-expected labour market recovery and rising price pressures have fuelled concerns of an early tapering of stimulus measures by the Bank of England (BoE).

Banks, miners, homebuilders, and travel & leisure stocks have fallen between 0.25% and 6.3% so far in September.

Investors will now closely watch August retail sales data on Friday and the outcome from the BoE's policy meeting next week.

"I don't think we'll see any great changes this time. I think in the economy there is still enough uncertainty about how the winter is going to pan out for the UK. But I do think that we'll get much stronger language than we've had, that a change is coming and that rate rises are very much within touching distance now," said Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst.

Drax jumped 8.8% to the top of FTSE 250 index after Barclays raised its price target on the British power generator's stock.

IG Group Holdings Plc rose 1.9% as the online trading platform maintained its medium-term targets after reporting a drop in adjusted first-quarter revenue.

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Amal S in BengaluruEditing by Uttaresh.V and Mark Potter)

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