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Industrial, financial stocks lift London's FTSE 100

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·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London
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  • ^FTSE

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -UK's FTSE 100 ended higher on Wednesday as gains in industrial and financial stocks helped counter concerns over the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on economic recovery and weaker-than-expected quarterly growth data.

After falling as much as 0.33%, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index reversed course to ended 0.6% higher. Industrial and financials gained 1.1% and 0.8% respectively.

While the domestically focussed mid-cap index added 1.1% with the travel and leisure sector among the top gainers.

Data showed Britain's economy grew slower than expected in the July-September period, before the Omicron variant posed a threat to economic recovery.

"The chances of (FTSE 100) surpassing 7,500 in the remaining sessions have categorically lessened as subdued macroeconomic data is likely to fuel the jittery (sentiment)," said Kunal Sawhney, chief executive officer at Kalkine Group, adding that investors could be on a lookout for bargain deals.

The British government said that from Wednesday it was reducing the COVID-19 self-isolation period to seven days from 10 days for people in England who get a negative result on a lateral flow test two days in a row.

Britain on Tuesday announced 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) of additional support for businesses hit hardest by the wave of Omicron cases, with hospitality and leisure businesses eligible for grants of up to 6,000 pounds for each of their premises.

"In this busy period and run up to Christmas, this doesn't seem like a huge amount," said Bethany Beckett, UK Economist at Capital Economics.

The UK travel and leisure sector is among the worst performers this year, down 8.8% so far this year, compared with a near 26% rise in commodity stocks including energy and industrial metal miners.

Healthcare investment firm Syncona Ltd jumped 5.5% after saying that Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG is buying its Gyroscope Therapeutics for up to $1.5 billion.

(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and David Evans)

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