Meggitt, real estate stocks lead FTSE 250 higher; Equiniti Group shines

(Reuters) -British midcaps edged higher on Thursday, outperforming the blue-chip index for a third straight session led by gains in Meggitt and real estate stocks, while Equiniti Group jumped after agreeing to a take private deal.

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past the London Stock Exchange building in the City of London, Britain, January 16 , 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The domestically focused FTSE 250 index rose 0.1%, with aero and defence stocks adding 1.5%. Meggitt gained 2.9% after UBS upgraded the stock to “neutral” from “sell”.

The FTSE 100 traded flat, with base metal miners adding 2% and offsetting losses in oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell. [O/R][MET/L]

Asian shares traded cautiously ahead of U.S. GDP and jobless claims numbers later in the day, while investors awaited key U.S. data due on Friday to gauge whether inflationary pressures were transient or signalled a more durable turn. [MKTS/GLOB]

“Things get more exciting this evening … we are likely to see more risk being taken off the board into that data dump,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

“With the street suddenly on edge again, indicators of potentially higher inflation will see the sell-off accelerate. At the same time, a benign data set should get us back to the week’s business as usual.”

The FTSE 100 index has gained 8.8% year-to-date on optimism that speedy vaccine rollouts and constant policy support from the government would drive a stronger recovery from a pandemic-led recession.

Among other stocks, Equiniti Group jumped 7.5% after the British administration services and payments specialist agreed to be taken over by a new company backed by private-equity firm Siris Capital in a 673 million pound ($949 million) deal.

Johnson Matthey slipped 2.3% after the chemicals maker warned that rising metal prices could hit its cash flow.

Insurer Aviva rose 2.6% after it recorded steady sales performance in its life insurance business and a 4% rise in general insurance, and repeated its promise to give cash back to shareholders.

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