FTSE hits three-week high after torrid October

LONDON (Reuters) – UK shares jumped to a three-week high on Wednesday as upbeat results from Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and Smurfit Kappa (SKG.I) provided some respite from a ghoulish October that put the market on track for its worst month since August 2015.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 1.3 percent at 1002 GMT, with energy and financials providing the biggest lift as results eased investor worries about slowing corporate earnings and Brexit.

“This rebound could well be down to some end-of-month position adjusting. However, there have been some indications in the past few days that we might be starting to see a bit of a short-term base, with most of the bad news already priced in to some extent,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The market was bracing for results tech heavyweight Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) results from the United States on Thursday.

But on the home front, investors drew comfort from Standard Chartered’s better than expected profit even as the Asia-focused lender warned that the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war was weighing on business sentiment in its core emerging markets. The shares were up 4.6 percent.

Smurfit Kappa, meanwhile, jumped 3 percent after the Irish packaging group reported consensus-busting earnings and announced an acquisition in Serbia. The news lifted peer DS Smith (SMDS.L) by 4.9 percent to the top of the FTSE leader board.

Oil majors extended Tuesday’s rally, with BP (BP.L) up 3.7 percent. Prices boosted by a higher oil price as well as the previous day’s bumper financial results.

GE slashes dividend to a penny

Among the handful of losers on the blue-chip board was retailer Next (NXT.L), down 3 percent after the British clothing retailer reported a slowdown in sales growth.

The news underscored concerns about the challenging business conditions on the high street, dragging down Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) with it.

Elsewhere, William Hill’s (WMH.L) bet on Swedish gaming company Mr Green triggered a rally in both stocks and the sector. William Hill, up 8 percent, topped a FTSE 250 index .FTMC that was up 1.2 percent.

Computacenter (CCC.L) sank 17 percent after the IT services company delivered a tepid forecast for the final quarter.



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