LONDON: London’s FTSE 100 rebounded on Wednesday, supported by positive earnings updates from companies including Diageo, while stronger than expected monthly GDP data bolstered optimism about a sharp recovery from the pandemic-driven slump.
The blue-chip index rose 0.8% after slumping 2.6% in the previous session. Spirits maker Diageo climbed 3.4% after it forecast organic operating profit growth of at least 14% in its current fiscal year and restarted its capital return programme.
Spirax-Sarco Engineering gained 1.9% as JP Morgan raised its price target on the stock after an upbeat trading update from the valve maker.
Official data showed Britain’s economy shrank by a less than feared 1.5% in the first quarter, when the country was under a third lockdown. In March, the economy grew by 2.1% from February led by the retail sector.
The FTSE 100 has gained about 8.4% year-to-date on optimism that speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and constant policy support from the government would drive a stronger economic recovery. The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index fell 0.3%.
UDG Healthcare jumped 20.7% after private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CDR) agreed to buy the pharmaceuticals services company for 2.6 billion pounds ($3.7 billion).
However, London-listed shares of Just Eat Takeaway.com NV slipped 8.3% to the bottom of the FTSE 100 index after rival food delivery firm Delivery Hero announced a launch of operations in Berlin.