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Britain's FTSE extends rally on bullish company updates
November 18, 2014 / 9:21 AM / 3 years ago

Britain's FTSE extends rally on bullish company updates

* FTSE 100 gains 0.3 percent, adds to weeks-long rally

* British Land, Prudential rise after results

* China data pressures mining companies, StanChart

* EasyJet pares early losses after results

By Alistair Smout

EDINBURGH, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Britain’s blue-chip index edged higher on Tuesday, adding to weeks of gains after bullish updates from British Land and insurer Prudential .

Real estate investment trust British Land rose 1.5 percent to be a top FTSE gainer after posting an 11.8 percent rise in half-year net asset value (NAV), reaping the benefits of London’s booming property market.

“There were concerns regarding another easing of house prices UK wide, but the numbers look strong,” Guardian Stockbrokers director of trading, Atif Latif, said.

Latif said that a positive outlook coupled with higher NAV and British Land’s London focus, helped to support the stock.

Insurer Prudential also rose, putting on 1.7 percent, after it reported a gain in profits from new business of 17 percent in the year to date, helped by the sale of annuities to company pension schemes.

Britain’s FTSE was up 0.3 percent, or 22.47 points, at 6,694.44 by 0852 GMT, extending a rally from an Oct. 16 low to more than 10 percent.

Weakness in commodity stocks has weighed on the market in recent months, and Rio Tinto and Anglo American fell again on Tuesday after sluggish property data from China hit base metal prices.

Traders said that Standard Chartered, down 1.4 percent, was also affected by growth concerns in Asia, with the latest Chinese data coming hot on the heels of the news that Japan had unexpectedly dropped back into recession.

Budget airline easyJet was a standout loser, dropping as much as 2 percent on disappointment that there was no special dividend, dealers said, noting that a lot of good news was already priced in.

Shares in the airline are up 8 percent since the beginning of October.

However, the stock quickly pared its losses, and traders said that the report was broadly encouraging, with higher profits and dividend and an improved outlook.

“Shares in easyJet have been strong (recently) but we see no reason to stop buying,” Sanlam Securities head of execution trading, Mark Ward, said. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

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