Banks, miners boost UK stocks as recovery optimism back in focus

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) – British shares rose on Tuesday, boosted by gains in banks and miners as investors turned their focus to vaccine-led economic recovery optimism, while Royal Mail climbed after announcing a one-off dividend payment.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.6%, with bank and mining stocks including HSBC Holdings, Barclays, Prudential Financial, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP being the biggest gainers.

Oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also among the biggest boosts, rising between 0.5% and 1%.

Bank of England rate-setter Gertjan Vlieghe said Britain’s economy would still need help from the central bank to restore it to its pre-pandemic growth path, even with a fast recovery and some inflation this year.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index climbed 0.6%, led by industrials stocks.

Imperial Brands Plc fell 0.7%, even after maintaining its full-year adjusted profit growth forecast, as it expected “significantly reduced” losses from next generation products and increased investments in its business.

Royal Mail added 2.8%, after saying it would pay a one-off dividend for the year ending March following recent upgrades to its financial outlook on the back of a surge in parcel demand during the pandemic and a recent pick-up in letter volumes.

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