London stocks rise as China trade data offsets gloomy earnings

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

(Reuters) – UK stock markets headed higher on Thursday with investors looking past dismal quarterly earnings reports on hopes of a faster recovery from a coronavirus-led recession following a surprise rise in China’s exports.

The export-laden FTSE 100 .FTSE climbed 0.4% and the mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC added 0.6% as China’s exports rose in April for the first time this year with factories racing to make up for lost sales due to the coronavirus shock.

Historic global stimulus and signs of a plateau in the COVID-19 pandemic powered the FTSE 100 in April, but the index has struggled to build on those gains this month as economic data underlines the extent of the damage already done.

Aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.L) fell 2.7% after saying it placed over 4,000 staff on furlough in the UK.

Insurer RSA (RSA.L) said it expected its exposure from the outbreak to total around 25 million pounds ($30.89 million), but its shares rose 3.9% to the top of the FTSE 100 in early trading.

Earlier in the day, the Bank of England held off from launching further stimulus measures, as expected, but said it was ready to take action to counter the coronavirus hit to the economy.

Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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