(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* Ocado drops even after reporting stellar earnings
* UK's consumer spending falls at fastest rate in 7 months
* Homebuilder Bellway gains on strong demand for new homes
* FTSE 100 up 0.1%, FTSE 250 adds 0.1% (Updates to market close)
By Shashank Nayar, Amal S and Shivani Kumaresan
Feb 9 (Reuters) - British shares rose on Tuesday as investors looked for signs of progress in passing a proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan by the U.S. administration that could help spur a faster economic recovery this year.
The pound jumped to a near 34-month high as the dollar .DXY languished near its lowest in a week. President Joe Biden is due to business leaders on Tuesday as part of his efforts to secure a recovery package known as the American Rescue Plan. lot of big vaccine optimism is starting to become little tempered. So until the virus is on its way out, investors can only be looking at more stimulus and government support," said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Forte Securities.
The retail index .FTNMX5370 fell 1.0% after surveys showed British consumer spending plunged at the fastest rate in seven months. the online share of British grocery sales hit a record 16% in January, up from 8% in the same month last year, driven by increased demand during the country's third COVID-19 lockdown, industry data showed. FTSE 100 has recovered nearly 33% from its March 2020 lows, led by a raft of stimulus, but a surge in infections and widespread lockdowns have slowed economic growth. The index has also lagged its U.S. and European peers, which are up 75% and 47%, respectively.
Britain said it would require passengers arriving from countries where worrying coronavirus variants were spreading to pay for 10 days of quarantine in hotels, while rule-breakers would face heavy fines or jail terms, under tighter restrictions from next week. Bellway Plc BWY.L rose 3.0% after it reported strong demand for new homes, as low lending rates and a temporary cut in stamp duty boosted activity in the sector. Group OCDO.L fell 1.7% and was one of the top drags on the FTSE 100, even as the online grocer and technology group reported a 69% increase in 2019-20 core earnings.
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