Miners, energy stocks lift UK shares on US stimulus boost
British shares rose on Thursday, as higher commodity prices boosted mining and energy stocks after the United States passed a massive stimulus bill, while online trading platform IG jumped on a surge in third-quarter revenue.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.1%, with mining stocks, including Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP Group, gaining between 1.2% and 2.6%.
Oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also among the biggest boosts as oil prices rose.
The US House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to one of the largest economic stimulus measures in American history, a sweeping $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill.
“Over the last few weeks, the markets are beginning to price in debt tightening for two to three years time,” said James Smith, developed market economist at ING.
“The next thing for UK markets is BoE’s (Bank of England’s) meeting next week, whether or not the bank still pushes back against the recent rise in yields.”
The FTSE 100 has rebounded more than 37% from a coronavirus-induced crash last year, but the pace of gains has slowed recently as investors fear a vaccine-led economic recovery could lead to higher inflation.
The slow start to 2021 for Britain’s housing market stretched into February, before Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced new measures that could revive a property boom that began after the first lockdown last year, a survey showed.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index rose 0.6%, led by industrials stocks.
IG Group rose 3.8% on a jump in third-quarter revenue despite a tough comparative a year ago, driven by high trading during the period that saw a retail frenzy in financial markets.
Transport company Go-Ahead Group rose 8.7% as it expected more people to use public transport for work and leisure in the spring as coronavirus-led restrictions ease.