FTSE 100 Rises on Commodity Stocks, Jobs Data Boost; Oxford Biomedica Jumps

By Devik Jain

The blue-chip index rose 0.5%, with precious and base metal miners adding more than 1% each, as they benefited from higher metal and gold prices. [MET/L] [GOL/]

Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and banking stocks also rose, providing the biggest boost to the index.

The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index climbed 0.7%.

Britain’s unemployment rate fell again, to 4.8% between January and March, and hiring rose further in April, according to data that showed employers gearing up for the easing of curbs.

“It is a general return to a bit of risk-on in the markets out there. We have some data out of the UK and several countries in Europe easing their restrictions have contributed to a general sense that the reopening is underway and that will boost cyclical stocks in particular,” said Simona Gambarini, a markets economist at Capital Economics.

The FTSE 100 has gained nearly 9.4% year-to-date as investors flocked to energy, materials and banking stocks that are seen benefiting the most from a stronger economic recovery due to speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and government support.

Fund managers loaded up on UK stocks and cut exposure to technology stocks as rising inflation and “taper tantrum” fears leave growth stocks vulnerable to pullbacks, Bank of America’s May fund manager survey released on Tuesday found.

Among other stocks, Oxford Biomedica gained 6% after it doubled the revenue expectation from its COVID-19 vaccine supply deal with drugmaker AstraZeneca.

Imperial Brands rose 2.1% after the tobacco company reiterated its full-year outlook.

Mobile operator Vodafone Group slipped 6.9% on reporting a 1.2% drop in annual adjusted earnings, as COVID-19 hit roaming revenue and handset sales.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)