FTSE 100 rises on Next boost; focus on business activity data

  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 flat

Jan 5 (Reuters) – Retailer Next followed up earnings forecasts with gains in healthcare stocks as investors turn to UK business activity data to gauge the health of the UK economy. Outpacing the decline, the export-strong FTSE 100 rose on Thursday.

Prime FTSE 100 (.FTSE) rose 0.2%, outperforming regional peers in early trading. The domestic FTSE 250 Mid Cap Index (.FTMC) was weak.

UK clothing retailer Next (NXT.L) jumps 7.6% after raising its pre-tax profit forecast for this year, pushing the broader retailer index (.FTNMX404010) to more than a four-month high rice field.

Falls in pharmaceutical companies GSK (GSK.L) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L) weighed on the FTSE 100, dropping 1.6% and 0.6% respectively.

Market participants will focus on service sector business activity data for December and a composite reading at 0930 GMT.

Overnight, the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting showed that all officials agreed that the central bank would slow the pace of aggressive rate hikes, but that the rate target would be cut short in 2023. We warned that it would not be appropriate to initiate a reduction.read more

Reported by Shashwat Chauhan, Bangalore. Edited by Uttaresh.V

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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