UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 rebounds as new virus cases drop, housebuilders jump

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 rebounds as new virus cases drop, housebuilders jump

* FTSE 100 up 1%, FTSE 250 up 0.8%

* Housebuilders up on bullish HSBC view

* Hochschild, Man Group lead midcaps

* UK inflation, Fed minutes eyed (Updates with closing prices)

By Shashwat Awasthi

Feb 19 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 rebounded in tandem with global markets on Wednesday as housebuilders advanced after HSBC upgraded its view on the stocks ahead of a first batch of results next week, while the number of new coronavirus cases in China fell.

The blue-chip index .FTSE added 1%, with a sub-index of housebuilders .FTNMX3720 hitting a record high. The FTSE 250 .FTMC gained 0.8%, helped by a 13% surge in Hochschild Mining HOCM.L after it reported 2019 results and targets for 2020.

Berkeley BKGH.L was the most notable gainer on the blue-chip index as it rose 2.2% to an all-time high. Fellow housebuilders Barratt BDEV.L , Taylor Wimpey TW.L and Persimmon PSN.L also rose between 1%-1.9%.

The sector is particularly sensitive to the domestic economy and updates on Britain's departure from the European Union, both of which have influenced consumer demand.

"The decisive general election result has brought the prospect of a final settlement of Brexit closer and unleashed pent-up demand in housing activity," HSBC analysts said.

Miners .FTNMX1770 and oil stocks also boosted the FTSE 100. HSBC HSBA.L rebounded from a more than 6% slide in the previous session when it reported lower profit and laid out plans for a strategic overhaul.

Among midcaps, hedge fund manager Man Group EMG.L jumped 9.1%, which according to traders was due to a rating upgrade from Exane. In contrast, price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com MONY.L dipped 2.2% after saying its top boss would step down. British benchmarks were coming off losses in the previous session due to a revenue warning from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) that stoked fears over the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.

The indexes touched their lowest point in months in January, but have recovered along with global markets as world governments and central banks took measures to stem the economic impact of a health crisis in China.

"The markets are arguably in a transition period between focusing on daily new case and death toll figures to data that will show the economic impact of the coronavirus," Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said.

Investors are also looking ahead to the release of Britain's inflation data as well as minutes of the latest U.S. Federal Reserve meeting which could spur some moves.

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