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FTSE 100 edges higher as Vodafone offsets China jitters

FTSE 100 edges higher as Vodafone offsets China jitters 1

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -UK’s blue-chip index edged higher on Monday, as gains in Vodafone after United Arab Emirates’ e& bought a stake in the mobile operator offset jitters over subdued data from China that stoked slowdown concerns in the world’s second-largest economy.

The FTSE 100 index reversed opening losses to edge up 0.1%, while the domestically focussed midcap index also gained 0.1%.

Vodafone jumped 3% after telecoms group e& bought a 9.8% stake in the company for $4.4 billion.

Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile provider BT Group also rose 1.6%.

However, keeping the global mood in check, data showed that China’s retail and factory activity fell sharply in April as wide COVID-19 lockdowns confined workers and consumers to their homes and severely disrupted supply chains.

“It’s no secret that there is some growth downside in China because of the zero-COVID strategy, so continue to expect the negative impact on data,” said Karim Chedid, head of investment strategy for iShares EMEA at BlackRock.

“The question is whether we’ve already seen the worst impact of the data.”

Big miners including Glencore and Antofagasta rose along with industrial metal prices as China, the world’s top metals consumer, set out plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions. [MET/L]

On the other hand, consumer companies Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser were the biggest drags on the FTSE 100.

Ryanair fell 3.4% after the airlines group said it was impossible to give a detailed forecast beyond hoping to return to “reasonable profitability” this year amid uncertainties over COVID-19 and the Ukraine war.

Technical products and services provider Diploma slid 6% after first-half results.

British baker and fast food chain Greggs slipped 0.3%, after it said cost pressures were increasing as it reported a rise in first-quarter sales.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Rashmi Aich)

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