Commodity stocks boost FTSE 100, Mulberry soars on strong earnings

·2-min read
A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in the City of London financial district, whilst British stocks tumble as investors fear that the coronavirus outbreak could stall the global economy, in London

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -UK's FTSE 100 rose for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, led by energy majors and miners, while leather bag company Mulberry jumped on strong earnings as demand for its luxury products returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.3% after hitting one-week highs earlier in the session.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose over 1% each with crude prices inching up as investors questioned the effectiveness of a U.S.-led release of oil from strategic reserves. [O/R]

Miners added 0.5%, supported by higher copper prices after China's latest announcement it will relax its fiscal policy and support the debt-laden property sector eased some concerns about Chinese demand. [MET/L]

The FTSE 100 index has added 13.1% this year, but continues to underperform its European peers with supply chain worries and inflationary pressures capping its gains.

"The valuations on UK stocks continue to be very cheap relative to both global and U.S. markets," said Oliver Blackbourn, portfolio manager at Janus Henderson Investors.

"It's the ESG factor. People can see the inflationary benefits of owning materials and energy stocks and if you're worried about higher interest rates, UK has a lot of financials, but that is not something you want from an ESG perspective."

Mulberry soared 19.5%, as per prices on Google Finance, after reporting demand for its luxury products was back at pre-pandemic levels with sales in the UK and Asia powering a 34% surge in first-half revenue.

The domestically focused mid-cap index fell 0.1% weighed by weakness in healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks.

Among decliners, IQE Plc, which makes semiconductor wafers for chips, slumped 24.3% after it forecast lower annual profit margin and revenue.

Asset manager Brewin Dolphin slid 6.1% after warning of market volatility ahead, as government support measures unwind and consumer demand falls back into normal levels.

Genetics company Genus sank 10.8% after the company cut its profit guidance on downturn in China.

(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Amal S in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V, Shinjini Ganguli and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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