UPDATE 2-FTSE gains for 4th day as investors await trade moves

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-FTSE gains for 4th day as investors await trade moves
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSE 100 up 0.1%, FTSE 250 down 0.4%

* Intu falls to bottom of smallcap index

* Mothercare has best day in almost two decades (Adds company news items, updates to closing prices)

By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi

Nov 6 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 edged up on Wednesday, adding to a 2% gain over the past three sessions, as investors waited for news on U.S.-China trade talks before making further bets, while mall operator Intu dropped on signs it may seek to sell more shares.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE , which had been holding at a near one-month high this week, rose 0.1%, while the FTSE 250 .FTMC dipped 0.4% as the pound weakened slightly ahead of a Bank of England's interest rate decision on Thursday.

The drop in the currency, however, boosted exporters British American Tobacco (JO: SNHJ ) BATS.L , Unilever ULVR.L and Diageo DGE.L , which were the best performers on the main bourse.

A standout loser in the wider London market was smallcap Intu Properties INTUP.L , which slumped 17.1% after saying it may need to raise additional cash.

That came along with a warning that letting activity slowed in the third quarter as some customers delayed decisions due to Brexit uncertainty. The company also forecast a drop in annual rental income. comments knocked 1%-2.5% off shares in bigger rivals Land Securities LAND.L , British Land BLND.L and Hammerson HMSO.L .

Global markets were held back by downbeat U.S. productivity data and a lack of major updates on U.S.-China trade talks after recent optimism that the world's two largest economies could sort out their dispute as soon as this month. FTSE 100, whose constituents book more than two-thirds of their earnings abroad, had in August suffered its steepest monthly fall this year when trade tensions peaked.

"A vast amount of optimism built into financial markets over the past two weeks," OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said. "There are plenty of banana skins that could slip up the story."

Mothercare MTC.L shares leapt 33% on their best day in nearly two decades. The baby products retailer shut all its UK stores and laid out plans to return the rest of the company to profitability by fiscal 2021.

"There were worries that they (Mothercare) are going to go bust, they are obviously not bust," a trader said.

Wednesday's rally helped Mothercare claw back all the losses that followed its notice of intent to appoint administrators for its UK operations on Monday.

In the same sector, Marks & Spencer MKS.L ended marginally lower after jumping nearly 8% earlier in the session. It reported a plunge in first-half earnings, but like-for-like sales growth in its food business. Brexit woes hammer real estate cos and mall operators



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