Housebuilders, packaging stocks lift UK shares

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Housebuilders, packaging stocks lift UK shares
Credit: © Reuters.

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* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct

* FTSE 250 up 0.6 pct

* Rolls-Royce higher after rating upgrade

* DS Smith rises after rival Smurfit Kappa's results

* Dunelm up after higher earnings

Feb 13 (Reuters) - London's blue-chip stocks gained on Wednesday as positive results and hopes of a possible delay to the UK's exit from the European Union lifted housebuilders and packaging firms DS Smith and Smurfit Kappa were boosted by upbeat earnings.

The FTSE index .FTSE was up 0.5 percent and the midcaps .FTMC were 0.6 percent higher by 0909 GMT, ahead of inflation data due at 0930 GMT.

Housebuilders Persimmon PSN.L , Barratt BDEV.L and Taylor Wimpey TW.L - among most vulnerable to a no-deal Brexit - were among the biggest gainers after midcap Galliford Try GFRD.L reported higher first-half results. led the FTSE 250, hitting its highest since end-November.

A trader also cited growing hopes that Brexit could be delayed if a EU divorce deal agreeable by all parties is not reached by March 29.

The UK's exit from the bloc remains unclear with just over six weeks till the deadline as Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday asked lawmakers to give her more time to negotiate a deal acceptable to both Brussels and British parliament.

Elsewhere, Asian stocks touched a more than four-month high on optimism that the United States and China might be able to hammer out a deal to resolve their protracted trade dispute.

That lifted shares of Asia-focussed companies with HSBC HSBA.L and luxury brand Burberry BRBY.L rising 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Global miners .FTNMX1770 were on course for their best day so far this month as London copper prices were headed for their first session of gain in five.

In single stock moves, Rolls-Royce RR.L was the best FTSE 100 performer with a 3 percent gain. It rose to a four-month high after a rating upgrade from Credit Suisse (SIX: CSGN ).

Packaging group DS Smith SMDS.L followed close with a 2.9 percent gain as rival Smurfit Kappa SKG.I said the current year had started positively after reporting strong results. London-listed shares of Smurfit Kappa also added 1.6 percent. operator TUI TUIT.L underperformed with a 3.4 percent fall, extending losses from the previous session when it posted a bigger first-quarter loss.

In a similar vein, online trading platform Plus500 PLUSP.L declined 5.1 percent after losing nearly one-third in value on Tuesday when it issued a profit warning.

Supporting the midcaps was Dunelm DNLM.L that rose 3.3 percent after reporting a jump in first-half earnings.

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