By Devik Jain
(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 index climbed on Monday, helped by gains in heavyweight financials and energy stocks, while investors awaited the government’s decision on whether it would delay England’s complete reopening from a third national lockdown.
The blue-chip index rose 0.4%. Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell gained 0.9% and 1.5% respectively, tracking crude prices.
Shell was also reviewing its holdings in the largest U.S. oil field for a potential sale, Reuters reported, marking a key moment in its shift away from fossil fuels as it faces growing pressure to slash carbon emissions.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.4%.
Asian shares also rose as market participants expected the U.S. Federal Reserve to stick to its dovish mantra later this week.
“The focus is not on monetary policy… rather, it’s on talking about talking about tapering bond purchases, as demand for liquidity in the U.S. economy starts to slow,” Paul Donovan, chief economist of UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce that the planned lifting of restrictions, which would see an end to limits on social contact, will be delayed following concern about the rapid rise of infections of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“The economic impact of this is unlikely to be that significant, as people have adapted relatively well,” Donovan said.
After breaking above the 7,000 mark in mid-April, the FTSE 100 has oscillated in a narrow range on worries that a resurgence in COVID-19 cases might delay the reopening, while rapid economic growth could lead to higher inflation and faster tightening of ultra-loose monetary policies.
Among stocks, outsourcer Serco Group jumped 4.1% after it raised its 2021 profit outlook, while recruiting firm SThree added 1.9% as it posted a rise in half-year net fees.
British broadcaster ITV gained 2.3% after a report that the UK would rein in online platforms’ power in an effort to protect public broadcasters.
(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)