Weak pound boosts exporters in FTSE 100; Ocado extends rally


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Nov 14 (Reuters) –

The UK’s export-oriented FTSE 100 climbed on Monday supported by a weaker pound as traders braced for the government’s fiscal statement later this week and with a stronger dollar weighing on the British currency.

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The FTSE 100 closed 0.9% higher, with Ocado Group up 14% and leading gains.

“Ocado saw the largest drop in short interest in October, helping the stock extend recent gains,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

Shares of the online supermarket and technology group have surged this month after it entered South Korea through a partnership deal with Lotte Shopping, Scholar added.

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“The stock is now up more than 90% and is at the top of the FTSE 100 today as investors turn bullish on the supermarket technology business,” she added.

Weakness in the pound against a strong dollar boosted export-oriented companies such as Unilever and British American Tobacco.

Sterling fell ahead of British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement on Thursday, when he is expected to set out tax rises and spending cuts.

“The UK government is still on a report card, being closely monitored after the perceived economic bad behavior of the short-lived (Liz) Truss administration,” said Susannah Streeter, markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“That’s why Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Chancellor Hunt have been priming the nation this weekend to expect widespread tax increases, and a cut back of spending in the Autumn Statement.”

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Informa Plc jumped 5.8% on raising its full-year earnings outlook, pushing the broader FTSE 350 media index 1.5% higher.

Indivior gained 2.4% after it said it would acquire Opiant Pharmaceuticals for approximately $145 million in cash. The broader healthcare index was up 2.5%.

British miners added 0.6% as copper prices jumped on the Chinese government offering support to its battered property sector, which consumes a vast amount of metals.

The domestically-focused FTSE 250 midcap index was subdued by the close after marking its biggest weekly gain in almost two years on Friday. (Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Ken Ferris)


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