FTSE 100 climbs on hopes of easing Chinese COVID curbs; HSBC leads gains

The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
  • EasyJet slips after reporting full-year loss
  • John Wood Group plunges on weak forecast
  • FTSE 100 up 0.5%, FTSE 250 off 0.6%

Nov 29 (Reuters) - The internationally focused FTSE 100 rose on Tuesday, led by gains in commodity-linked stocks on the possibility of less string@ent COVID curbs in China, while HSBC Holdings topped the index after agreeing to sell its Canadian business to RBC.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) closed 0.5% up to hit its highest level Sept. 13, while the domestically focused FTSE 250 midcap index (.FTMC) ended 0.6% lower.

Financial companies led the gains on the FTSE 100, with HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) climbing 4.4% and 5%, respectively.

Britain will change its rulebook to allow banks to take more risks to help to keep the City of London's status as a leading global financial centre, a government minister said on Tuesday. read more

HSBC announced the sale of its Canadian business to Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) for C$13.5 billion ($10 billion) in cash, paving the way for a potential bumper payout for shareholders later down the line.

World markets were rattled on Monday as protests against strict COVID-19 restrictions flared up in major Chinese cities over the weekend.

Officials have come out with efforts to address the rising dissent, saying China will speed up COVID-19 vaccinations for elderly people.

"The announcement has added to expectations that perhaps this wave of COVID might not be as bad and that supply chains and demand won't take too much of a hit," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

British markets have sharply recovered from their October lows, when a bungled mini-budget sent markets into a tailspin, as new leadership tries to restore investor confidence in the economy amid surging inflation and a severe cost-of-living crisis.

Base metal miners' shares (.FTNMX551020) climbed 3.1% to their highest level since June 10 as prices rebounded on support for the property sector in top metals consumer China.

Heavyweight oil majors BP (BP.L) and Shell (SHEL.L) rose 1.8% and 1.7%, respectively, as crude prices climbed on hopes of China easing its COVID controls.

EasyJet (EZJ.L) fell 2.6% after the airline reported a full-year loss, while oilfield services and engineering firm John Wood Group Plc (WG.L) plunged 15.9% on weak short-term forecast.

Asset manager Record Plc (RECL.L) jumped 11.1% after reporting a higher first-half pretax profit.

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Savio D'Souza and Maju Samuel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.