LONDON: UK’s blue-chip index rose on Monday, aided by gains in healthcare and resource-linked stocks, though subdued data from China stoked slowdown concerns in the world’s second-largest economy and kept sentiment in check.
The FTSE 100 index ended 0.6% higher, with pharmaceutical giants such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline and oil majors Shell and BP among top boosts.
Data showed that China’s retail and factory activity fell sharply in April as wide COVID-19 lockdowns confined workers and consumers to their homes and severely disrupted supply chains.
“It’s no secret that there is some growth downside in China because of the zero-COVID strategy, so continue to expect the negative impact on data,” Karim Chedid, head of investment strategy for iShares EMEA at BlackRock, said.
“The question is whether we’ve already seen the worst impact of the data.” Big miners including Glencore and Antofagasta rose along with industrial metal prices as China, the world’s top metals consumer, set out plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
Consumer companies Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser were the biggest drags on the FTSE 100.
The domestically focussed midcap index ended flat.
Vodafone jumped 1.9% after telecoms group e& bought a 9.8% stake in the company for $4.4 billion.
Ryanair fell 0.2% after the airlines group said it was impossible to give a detailed forecast beyond hoping to return to “reasonable profitability” this year amid uncertainties over COVID-19 and the Ukraine war.
Technical products and services provider Diploma slid 5.7% after first-half results.
British baker and fast food chain Greggs slipped 0.5% after it said cost pressures were increasing as it reported a rise in first-quarter sales.