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London shares end higher, erase declines on stimulus hopes

Shreyashi Sanyal
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain
FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) - The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 index reversed earlier declines to jump more than 1% on Monday, boosted by a weakening pound and a global rally in equities powered by hopes of more stimulus.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE> closed 1.3% higher after falling as much as 0.6%, while the British mid-cap index <.FTMC> rose 0.7%.

Oil & gas stocks <.FTNMX0530> jumped 2.1%, with heavyweight BP <BP.L> gaining 3.3% as it agreed to sell its global petrochemicals business to billionaire Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos for $5 billion.

Sterling fell on Monday against both dollar and euro as investors shifted the focus to how Britain's government will pay for its planned big infrastructure programme, while Brexit-related risks kept pressure on the pound. [GBP/]

Hopes of a stimulus-backed economic rebound helped lift Wall Street. [.N]

"With the right government policies, many economies should be able more or less to revert to the path of output they were on before the crisis," said Vicky Redwood, senior economic adviser at Capital Economics.

UK stocks have staged a strong rebound in the past three months following a coronavirus-driven crash in March, and are on track for one of their best quarters since the global financial crisis, boosted in part by historic global stimulus.

But the pace of gains has slowed this month, with the FTSE 100 still about 20% away from its January peak as more data underscored the bruising impact of lockdowns, with British private-sector economic activity falling at record pace in the three months to June.

Among other stocks, Energean Oil & Gas <ENOG.L> jumped 22% to the top of the FTSE 250 as it reduced its capital expenditure forecast for 2020 to between $760 million and $780 million from $840 million.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Andrew Heavens)