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Updated December 27th, 2023 at 15:33 IST

UK equities surge on year-end optimism

As the year draws to a close, the FTSE 100 remains on an upward trajectory, propelled by expectations that the Fed might initiate rate cuts as early as March.

Reported by: Business Desk
Stock market
Representative | Image:Unsplash
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London's key stock indices displayed upward momentum on Wednesday, buoyed by gains in metal mining stocks and sustained year-end optimism. By 9:38 GMT, the FTSE 100 advanced by 0.6 per cent, while the FTSE 250 midcap index reached a peak not seen since March 2023, climbing 0.3 per cent.

The mining sector witnessed robust activity, with precious metal miners rising 1.2 per cent, underpinned by anticipations of potential interest rate reductions by the US Federal Reserve in the forthcoming year. Concurrently, industrial metal miners surged 1.3 per cent, spearheading sectoral advancements. This uptick came as base metal prices benefited from improved manufacturing activity in China, the world's leading consumer of these commodities. Additionally, a depreciating US dollar provided supplementary market support.

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Ipek Ozkardeskaya, Senior Market Analyst at Swissquote Bank, noted shifts in China's economic strategy, stating, "The Chinese government appears to be recalibrating its focus towards industrial sectors, pivoting away from its consumer-centric approach. However, their motivations may not align entirely with investor interests."

Conversely, the automobile and parts sector experienced a marginal decline of 0.3 per cent. As the year draws to a close, the FTSE 100 remains on an upward trajectory, propelled by widespread expectations that the Federal Reserve might initiate rate cuts as early as March, with other global central banks potentially following suit.

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In corporate developments, Anglo American saw its shares ascend by 3.4 per cent, topping the FTSE 100 leaderboard, following reports indicating its contemplation of divesting a portion of its interest in a £9 billion UK mining venture. Cybersecurity firm Darktrace witnessed a 2.5 per cent uptick subsequent to disclosures revealing tech entrepreneur Michael Lynch's acquisition of a 3.92 per cent stake in the company. 

Additionally, pharmaceutical heavyweight AstraZeneca advanced 1.3 per cent post-announcement of its acquisition agreement with Gracell Biotechnologies, valued at up to $1.2 billion, further amplifying its cell therapy initiatives and expanding its footprint in China. The broader pharmaceutical and biotechnology index concurrently rose by 0.9 per cent.

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(With Reuters inputs)

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Published December 27th, 2023 at 15:33 IST

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