Home Bussiness UK’s FTSE 100 inches higher as Ashtead climbs; Powell testimony awaited

UK’s FTSE 100 inches higher as Ashtead climbs; Powell testimony awaited

UK’s FTSE 100 inches higher as Ashtead climbs; Powell testimony awaited

  • Ashtead hits over one-year intraday high on forecast optimism
  • Premier Foods climbs on annual profit outlook raise
  • Wood Group surges on plan to reject Apollo’s latest buyout offer
  • U.S. Fed Chair Powell testimony at 1500 GMT (10 a.m. ET)
  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 adds 0.3%

March 7 (Reuters) – UK’s FTSE 100 rose on Tuesday, lifted by industrial stocks following Ashtead’s strong forecast, while investors cautiously awaited a testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Powell is expected to testify before the Senate Banking Committee at 1500 GMT, and markets will scrutinize his remarks for clues on the U.S. central bank’s monetary policy path ahead.

The large-cap FTSE 100 (.FTSE) was up 0.2%, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 (.FTMC) rose 0.3% by 0941 GMT.

“Caution is the name of the game, as investors await this testimony from the world’s most influential central banker and are on tenterhooks about just how far rates will rise and what effect this will have on the world’s largest economy,” Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown said.

Industrial goods and services (.FTUB5020) jumped as shares of Ashtead Group Plc (AHT.L) added 3.1% after the company forecast annual results ahead of its estimates and raised capital spend outlook for the next year.

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Both the FTSE indexes are eyeing a strong finish for this quarter, as hopes of the Bank of England (BOE) easing from its hawkish monetary stance amid a resilient economy calmed investors.

John Wood Group (WG.L) surged 14.6% after the oilfield services provider said it was considering rejecting the latest buyout proposal from private-equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc (APO.N).

Premier Foods Plc (PFD.L) increased its annual profit outlook, as its grocery business witnessed strong demand. Shares of the Mr Kipling maker climbed 9.6%.

Energy stocks (.FTNMX601010), however, shed 0.3% after trade data from China pointed to continued weakness in demand for the country’s products during the January-February period.

Meanwhile, mortgage lender Halifax said house prices jumped unexpectedly in February, potentially reflecting improvements in consumer confidence and the mortgage market.

Reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Uttaresh Venkateshwaran

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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