FTSE 100 tracks broader Europe higher after ECB holds rates

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A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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  • Both UK indexes tracking weekly losses
  • Wizz Air slips; flags wider annual loss
  • FTSE 100 up 0.5%, FTSE 250 gains 0.7%

April 14 (Reuters) - A rally in banks and consumer stocks saw London's FTSE 100 reverse session losses on Thursday, moving in line with other European peers as investors scaled back bets of interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) rose 0.5% after having declined up to 0.4% earlier in the session. But the index still broke a five-week gaining streak on inflation and growth worries and uncertainty stemming from a war in Ukraine.

"UK stocks are tracking the European stocks after (ECB President Christine) Lagarde wasn't as hawkish as the market was expecting," said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital.

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The ECB concluded its latest meeting with cautious steps to unwind support and President Christine Lagarde said they would start raising interest rates only "some time" after it has ended its net asset purchases. read more

"She's filled the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle in that as much as you've got a hawkish Fed, you've got on this side of the Atlantic both the Bank of England and the ECB, very much alluding to the fact that growth concerns going forward are going to take priority over putting the inflation genie back in the bottle."

"So outlook for stock markets this side of the pond suddenly look brighter than it was."

The banks index (.FTNMX301010) rose 1%, while consumer stocks such as Diageo (DGE.L), Compass Group (CPG.L) and Reckitt Benckiser (RKT.L)were among other boosts to the blue-chips index, up between 08% and 2.3%

The domestically focused midcap FTSE 250 index (.FTMC)snapped a three-session losing streak to close 0.7% higher. Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) rose 7.7% after saying summer bookings were expected to improve significantly after Easter.

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Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Chizu Nomiyama

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