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LONDON: London shares tracked gains in Asian equities on Tuesday, following optimism about economic stimulus and a global recovery, while oil manufacturing major BP dropped after reporting weak earnings.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.6%, with insurers and construction stocks leading the gains, while the mid-cap index added 0.5%.

BP fell 3.3% to the bottom of the FTSE 100 as its profit in the last quarter of 2020 sunk to $115 million on weak energy demand, while fuel consumption continued to slide so far this year due to tightening travel restrictions.

Asian stock markets gained for a second day, ahead of negotiations between US President Joe Biden and Republican senators on a new COVID-19 support bill.

The FTSE 100 has recovered nearly 30% from its March 2020 lows and is 15% away from its highest point last year, led by stimulus support and re-opening optimism, but a recent surge in infections and lockdowns have slowed growth.

British power producer SSE Plc rose 0.7% after saying it appointed banks to explore options for the sale of all or some of its stake in Scotia Gas Networks (SGN).

Lender Virgin Money gained 5.6% as it reported a “modest” increase in the number of customers, while providing a further 726 million pounds ($992.59 million) to protect its balance sheet.

“Any of the negative news we have in relation to lockdowns in the UK, has already been factored in and traders are keeping an eye on the vaccination level because that seems to be moving in the right direction,” said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets.

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