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LONDON: London’s FTSE 100 index climbed on Monday, helped by gains in banking and homebuilders, while office space provider IWG slumped to a four-month low after issuing a profit warning.

The FTSE 100 ended up 0.1%, with banks stocks, including Barclays PLC, Lloyds Banking Group, and HSBC Holdings, among the top gainers.

Homebuilders gained 1.8% with Bellway Plc, Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey jumping more than 1%.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 was up 0.3%, hovering just below record highs.

After breaking above the 7,000 mark in mid-April, the export-heavy FTSE 100 is on course to post its fifth straight month of gains as a gradual reopening from Covid-19 lockdowns sparks optimism around a faster economic recovery.

But with fears of rising inflation and new variants of the novel coronavirus threatening the recovery, analysts said global equity markets were at risk of a correction.

Mining stocks fell 2.1% and were the biggest drag on the FTSE 100 index as data showed China’s export growth slowed more than expected last month due to disruptions caused by Covid-19 cases at the country’s major southern ports.

Office space provider IWG tumbled 10.3% marking its worst day in more than a year, as it said underlying core earnings for the current year would be well below the crisis-hit 2020 level due to continued lockdown restrictions in some markets.

Carnival Corp gained 1.9% as the company said it will restart its namesake cruise line trips from US ports this summer for fully vaccinated guests.

Life sciences company NetScientific Plc surged 91.7% after saying one of its subsidiaries had entered an exclusive licensing agreement with AstraZeneca Plc to globally sell a Covid-19 test.

“Very quickly the issue of rising prices and their impact on monetary policy could become front and centre again, after being pushed to the back of the market’s mind by a US jobs report on Friday,” said Russ Mould, director at AJ Bell investment.

All eyes will be on US inflation data for May, due on Thursday, for cues on whether the Federal Reserve was likely to start tightening monetary policy sooner than expected.

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