* FTSE 100 up 0.3 pct
* easyJet, Kingfisher, Wolseley all bounce after updates
* FTSE remains 4 percent off 2014 peak
* Copper, miners bounce on China stimulus hopes
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, March 25 UK shares rose on Tuesday,
rebounding off of a six-week closing low, after easyJet and
Kingfisher reported updates that raised optimism about the
outlook for corporate earnings this year.
Budget airline easyJet jumped 5.1 percent after it
upgraded its first-half outlook by 25 percent on Tuesday, helped
by tight cost control and the popularity of its allocated
It was followed closely on the FTSE 100 leaderboard by
Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvements retailer.
Kingfisher gained 4.6 percent after it said it would return
about 200 million pounds ($330 million) to shareholders in the
current year after meeting forecasts with a 4.1 percent rise in
British plumbing supplies group Wolseley also gained
after its own corporate update, up 2 percent after strength in
its U.S., British and Nordic operations lifted its profit.
"Most of the figures out today seem to be broadly positive,
with Wolseley, easyJet and Kingfisher all reading pretty well.
There's a raft of good corporate figures which point to a good
economic backdrop," Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital,
They helped the FTSE 100 index rise 1 percent, or
64.78 points to 6,585.17 by 0840 GMT.
Only five stocks were in negative territory on the whole
index. Royal Mail Group fell 1.6 percent after
announcing 1,300 job cuts, with traders also highlighting light
"Royal Mail will be all over the headlines for the wrong
reasons tomorrow (but) have made what I think is the right move
in the longer term," Rundle said.
Market gains lifted the FTSE away from its lowest close
since Feb. 5, although it remained 4 percent off a 14-year
closing high struck on Feb. 24.
The stock market has suffered from concerns about
developments in Ukraine, as the G7 warned Moscow of more
sanctions should Russia destabilise its neighbour further.
Signs that China's growth is slowing has also dampened
market sentiment, particularly mining stocks, but they rebounded
on Tuesday as London copper edged up to its highest in nearly a
week on hopes China will act to support its economy after a
survey showed manufacturing contracted in the first quarter.
Credit Suisse reduced its overweight on equities, citing
China as its "biggest global macro concern", but said it should
grow enough for equities to continue to look attractive.
"Only sub-5 percent GDP growth would lead us to underweight
equities ... for now, we think that China has the policy power
to avoid sub-5 percent GDP growth," strategists at Credit Suisse
said in a note.
(Editing by Susan Fenton)