United Kingdom

Homebuilders lift London's FTSE 100; rate hike worries limit gains

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The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

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  • Barratt leads homebuilders to biggest daily gain since April '20
  • Just Eat Takeaway drops on order growth missing expectations
  • Man Group soars as AUM jumps to $139.5 billion
  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 adds 1.0%

Oct 13 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday, lifted by gains in shares of homebuilders after Barratt Developments posted strong earnings, but worries about a possible early interest rate hike by the Bank of England kept sentiment in check.

Homebuilders (.FTNMX402020) jumped as much as 3.9%, their biggest intraday rise since April last year, with Barratt Developments PLC (BDEV.L) up 6% after it reported sales above pre-pandemic levels and said it was on track to deliver its 2022 and medium-term targets. read more

"The housebuilders have found themselves in somewhat of a sweet spot," said Laura Hoy, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

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"While pent-up lockdown demand is starting to wane, people are still motivated to move and that's driven house prices higher. According to Barratt, that's been enough to offset build cost inflation."

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index (.FTSE) inched up 0.2%, with personal goods makers (.FTNMX402040) also among the top gaining segments.

Britain's economy returned to growth in August after contracting for the first time in six months in July, keeping intact financial market bets the Bank of England will begin raising interest rates before the end of the year. read more

The BoE, facing a jump in inflation, looks set to be the first major central bank to raise interest rates since the beginning of the pandemic. Investors are betting on a rise to 0.15% by December. BOEWATCH

The FTSE 100 has risen about 10% so far this year on accommodative central bank policies, but is still nearly 9.6% away from its all-time highs, significantly underperforming the wider European aggregate index which sits only 3% below its record levels.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index (.FTMC) rose 1.0%, with travel and leisure stocks (.FTNMX405010) leading gains.

UK fund manager Man Group (EMG.L) rose 7.6% and was the top gainer after its assets under management rose to a record $139.5 billion in the third quarter.

In volatile trade, SoftBank-backed online retailer THG (THG.L) dropped 2.9%, extending losses after it held a presentation on Tuesday to reassure investors it could reverse a recent slide in its share price. read more

THG shares

Just Eat Takeaway shares declined 1.7% to the lowest since February 2019 after third-quarter orders failed to meet analyst expectations. read more

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Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Shashank Nayar and Amal S; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Kirsten Donovan

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