FTSE climbs ahead of Sino-U.S. trade deal

(Reuters) - London’s main index ended a choppy Tuesday session with slight gains, as investors looked towards the signing of the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal, while betting firms lost ground after Britain banned consumers from using credit cards to gamble.

FILE PHOTO: A broker looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index the trading floor in London, Britain February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The FTSE 100 .FTSE closed 0.1% higher. The FTSE 250 .FTMC rose 0.2%, driven by a 9.2% jump in miniature wargame maker Games Workshop GAW.L after reporting record profit and sales.

Ahead of the interim trade deal on Wednesday, a source said China would ramp up purchases of cars, aircraft and energy supplies from the United States. Separately, Washington said Beijing should no longer be designated a currency manipulator.

“A little bit of risk-off across the board ... as investors look towards next steps in terms of U.S.-China trade. There’s no one catalyst apart from general profit-taking ahead of the start of earnings season in the U.S.,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.

Homebuilder Taylor Wimpey TW.L was the second-best performer on the FTSE 100, rising 4% after a trading update showed that its order book surged 22% in 2019, aided by the government's Help to Buy scheme.

Meanwhile, gambling firms Flutter Entertainment FLTRF.L and William Hill WMH.L gave up 1.2% and 2.5%, respectively, on Britain's new rule designed to prevent consumers from building up too much debt.

Other industry players GVC GVC.L and 888 888.L recouped earlier losses to end marginally higher.

Shares of Elementis ELM.L slid 14.7% to the bottom of the midcaps after the speciality chemicals company warned of a lower 2019 profit. The stock recorded its steepest one-day fall since mid-2015.

Another significant faller was gold miner Centamin CEY.L, which lost 7% on its worst day since early December after Canadian company Endeavour Mining EDV.TO scrapped plans to take over the London group.

AIM-listed online fashion retailer Boohoo BOOH.L advanced 5% to a record high after reporting robust performance in its Christmas trading period and hiking its full-year forecast.

“Boohoo continues to defy the broader gloom on the High Street thanks to its appeal among younger shoppers, its tight marketing and laser focus around celebs and social media,” analyst Neil Wilson said.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber; Anil D’Silva and Alison Williams