LONDON, Nov 1 — The UK blue-chip index bounced back today from its worst session in a month, led by oil heavyweights and miners, following upbeat factory data from China, while car dealership Lookers tanked after another profit alert.
The FTSE 100 was 0.3 per cent higher by 0855 GMT, recouping some of the more than one per cent drop in the previous session, and the FTSE 250 added 0.4 per cent.
Renewed worries about Washington and Beijing settling their differences in trade and the British parliament approving a snap election in December ahead of the next Brexit deadline have left investors cautious in recent weeks.
However, concerns over a global slowdown were kept in check after a survey showed China’s factory activity unexpectedly expanded at the fastest pace in well over two years in October.
Sentiment was also lifted by comments from US President Donald Trump that the United States and China would soon announce a new site where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign a “Phase One” trade agreement.
That soothed investor nerves after a Bloomberg report that Chinese officials doubted if it is possible to reach a comprehensive long-term trade deal with Washington.
The report partly led to the FTSE 100 index, whose components have a greater international presence, to record a monthly loss for October.
Among news-driven moves, Lookers plunged 15 per cent on the smallcap index after the company issued its second warning on profits in less than four months and announced the departure of its two top executives.
“The decision to drive management change was clearly taken in light of recent company performance and has only just occurred, meaning the recruitment process will take some time to be completed,” Peel Hunt analysts wrote in a note.
The update from Lookers dragged shares in rival Inchcape by 3.4 per cent.
Home repairs provider Homeserve, however, added three per cent to lead FTSE 250 gainers after Peel Hunt analysts raised rating on stock to “add” from “hold” ahead of half-year report.
Another notable gainer was BBA Aviation, which rose 2.4 per cent after the aviation services provider set out plans to return US$835 million (RM3.5 billion) to shareholders. — Reuters