FTSE 100 on track for fourth session of gains


By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi

Oct 24 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 rose on Thursday along with its European counterparts, helped by strong French manufacturing data and gains in AstraZeneca after a 2019 forecast upgrade.

The blue-chip index .FTSE climbed 0.7% to a near one-month high by 0730 GMT, on course for its fourth session of gains. A dip in sterling limited the FTSE 250 .FTMC to a 0.2% gain.

After rising to session highs following data from France, the main bourse eased slightly after another survey showed employment in Germany's private sector fell for the first time in six years in October.

The conflicting data come at a time of existing fears over global economic growth, as multiple unfavourable events including the U.S.-China trade tussle and Brexit play out.

In the past two weeks UK shares have been volatile with major Brexit developments including Prime Minister Boris Johnson striking a new Brexit deal with the European bloc and lawmakers at home forcing his hand into asking for another extension to the divorce.


The FTSE 100, whose components rake in more than two-thirds of their earnings in U.S. dollars, is on course for its best weekly gain since early June, as uncertainties over the course of UK's EU departure have dented the value of sterling.

AstraZeneca AZN.L gained 3%, its biggest one-day rise in three months, after the pharmaceutical giant raised its annual product sales forecast for the second time this year.

Analytics and decision tools provider Relx REL.L and industrial software company Aveva AVV.L added 2.5% each following trading updates.

"There's not been a huge catalyst for markets this week. Earnings are largely topping beaten-down estimates. U.S.-China and Brexit are in limbo," Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson said.

On the other end of the spectrum was Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L that skidded 3% as it swung to a third-quarter loss due to a fresh 900 million pound provision to settle mis-selling claims.

A notable mid-cap performer was Kaz Minerals KAZ.L that jumped 7% after record third-quarter copper production as it ramped up operations at its biggest mines in Kazakhstan.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust WPCT.L, formerly run by high-profile money manager Neil Woodford, jumped 22% as the company appointed asset manager Schroders SDR.L as its new portfolio manager.

(Reporting by Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)

((muvija.m@tr.com; within UK +44 20 7542 1810, outside UK +91 80 6749 3638;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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