Sunday, April 2

FTSE 100 extends gains on AstraZeneca, mining boost

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London’s FTSE 100 extended gains on Thursday after the index touched fresh two-year highs in the previous session with AstraZenca being the top gainer on strong profit and sales forecast, though weakness in Unilever shares capped gains.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.5% at 7678.44, as of 0815 GMT, with support from industrial miners and oil stocks.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 0.5%, with travel and leisure stocks leading the gains.

AstraZeneca jumped 3.7% to top the FTSE 100 index after the British drugmaker forecast higher 2022 sales as it posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, but flagged lower gross profit margins.

Unilever was the top loser, down 3.3%, after the consumer products maker forecast higher sales, but lower margins for this year as it grapples with soaring inflation.

Among other stocks, British insurer Beazley Plc climbed 3.8% to boost the mid-cap index after it resumed its dividend following an annual profit.

Homebuilders were also among top gainers after a survey showed house price growth in Britain hit a new six-month high in January.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)