October 31, 2018 / 10:35 AM / 19 days ago

FTSE ends at three-week high after torrid October

LONDON (Reuters) - UK shares rose to a three-week high on Wednesday as upbeat results from Standard Chartered (STAN.L) provided some respite from a grim October that put the market on track for its worst month since August 2015.

People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File photo

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE rose 1.3 percent, with energy and financials providing the biggest lift as results eased investor worries about slowing corporate earnings and Brexit.

“This rebound could well be down to some end-of-month position adjusting. However, there have been some indications in the past few days that we might be starting to see a bit of a short-term base, with most of the bad news already priced in to some extent,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The market was bracing for tech heavyweight Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) results from the United States on Thursday.

But on the home front, investors drew comfort from Standard Chartered’s better than expected profit even as the Asia-focused lender warned that the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war was weighing on business sentiment in its core emerging markets. The shares were up 3.2 percent.

Smurfit Kappa rose 0.5 percent after the Irish packaging group reported consensus-busting earnings and announced an acquisition in Serbia. Peer DS Smith (SMDS.L) by 1.7 percent.

Oil majors extended Tuesday’s rally, with BP (BP.L) up 3.9 percent after the previous day’s bumper financial results.

Among the handful of losers on the blue-chip board was retailer Next (NXT.L), down 1.9 percent after the British clothing retailer reported a slowdown in sales growth.

The news underscored concerns about the challenging business conditions on the high street, dragging down Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) with it.

Elsewhere, William Hill’s (WMH.L) bet on Swedish gaming company Mr Green triggered a rally in both stocks and the sector. William Hill rose 1.1 percent but off earlier highs.

Computacenter (CCC.L) sank 12.6 percent after the IT services company delivered a tepid forecast for the final quarter.

Reporting by Josephine Mason and Danilo Masoni Editing by David Goodman, Richard Balmforth

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