UPDATE 2-British shares end higher led by gains in oil and mining stocks
(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* BP rises as company advances net debt target to Q1
* UK shops see increase in footfall in the week to April 3
* FTSE 100 up 1.3%, FTSE 250 adds 1.2% (Updates to close)
By Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar
April 6 (Reuters) - British shares ended higher on Tuesday led by heavyweight commodity-focussed stocks, while prospects of a planned economic reopening from a coronavirus lockdown starting next week helped boost sentiment towards beaten down travel and leisure shares.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE ended up 1.3% at its highest since Jan. 8. Energy group BP Plc BP.L gained 3.5% and was the biggest boost to the index after saying it expects to reach its $35 billion net debt target in the first quarter of 2021. heavyweights Rio Tinto RIO.L , BHP group BHPB.L and Anglo American (JO: AMSJ ) AAL.L jumped nearly 2.5% each, tracking higher metal prices. METL/
"As uncertainty about Brexit has pretty much cleared away and (hopes) of a stronger global economic recovery (increase), I'd expect the UK economy is going to be in a better position than some this year and sort of more domestic kind of UK focus stocks to do quite well," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com.
The FTSE 100 has risen 5.6% so far this year, supported by speedy vaccine rollouts and a raft of economic stimulus, although a spike in virus cases across Europe and a jump in benchmark bond yields tempered optimism.
The number of people heading out to shops across Britain rose by 8.5% in the week to April 3 versus the previous week despite the national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Tuesday. goods manufacturers Unilever ULVR.L and Diageo DGE.L also led gains to the FTSE 100, adding 1.6% and 2.5% respectively.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said England could proceed to Stage 2 of his roadmap out of lockdown from April 12 with the opening of all shops, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality areas. mood was also lifted by strong economic data from the United States and China, and an easing in bond yields after a month of rapid gains. MKTS/GLOB
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