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Royal Mail, Real Estate Stocks Pull Ftse 250 Higher; Amigo Sinks

By Devik Jain

The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.3% with Royal Mail climbing 5.9% to the top of the index after Peel Hunt upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold”.

Real estate stocks and real estate investment trusts also jumped, providing the biggest boost to the index.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index edged 0.1% lower as a stronger pound weighed on large dollar-earning consumer staples companies including British American Tobacco, Diageo and Imperial Brands. [GBP=]

However, losses on the index were limited by industrial software company Aveva, which gained 5% after saying it was confident about the year ahead as the business environment had improved in most of its major markets.

“We’re in a kind of sideways pattern since April and looking sort of beyond company results in the UK, and at the macro picture as the driving force,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

“The risk for the FTSE 100 would be that even if Europe and America emerge from the pandemic this summer, it’s going to take longer in emerging markets. There’s a decent amount of growth element in some of these UK names like miners, oil, consumer staples, which rely on emerging markets for further growth.”

After rising 9.1% in the first four months of this year on recovery optimism, the FTSE 100 has traded in a tight range in the past few sessions on concerns that a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across parts of Asia might delay a global economic recovery.

Subprime lender Amigo tumbled 51.7% after a court refused to sanction a proposed rescue plan to manage its large backlog of redress claims.

Among other stocks, AstraZeneca fell 0.7% after Britain’s competition regulator said it was reviewing the drugmaker’s $39 billion buyout of U.S.-based Alexion.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)