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UPDATE 2-Financial stocks lift London's FTSE 100; Taylor Wimpey jumps
Published at 04/08/2021 at 16:54

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Taylor Wimpey surges on robust results

* Insurer Legal & General rises on strong earnings

* UK's Hut Group jumps as it buys beauty retailer Cult Beauty

* FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 inches up 0.1%

(Updates to close)

By Shashank Nayar and Amal S

Aug 4 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday, helped by heavyweight financial stocks and strong corporate earnings updates, although investors' mood remained cautious over rising COVID-19 infections and risks of higher inflation.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index inched up 0.2%, helped by financial stocks which gained 1.6% with Prudential , Legal and General , and Barclays

among the top boosts to the index.

Insurer and asset manager Legal & General gained 3.2% and was the third biggest gainer on the FTSE 100 after beating estimates for first-half profit and signalling a strong full year.

Taylor Wimpey added 2.2% as it joined bigger rivals in forecasting sustained demand and projected annual operating profit above the top end of market consensus.

"Higher selling prices, strong forward sales and a rapid recovery in profits at housebuilder Taylor Wimpey in the first half will all help to soothe investors' nerves over what may happen to the UK housing market, as a new "Help to Buy" scheme starts and the stamp duty holiday comes to an end," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Homebuilders have gained nearly 1% this year on higher demand for homes amid lockdowns and government tax breaks, although a survey last month pointed towards a cooling housing market.

The FTSE 100 began the month on a strong note and recorded gains for the third straight session, supported by robust earnings and dividend cheer, as investors straddle the fence between inflation concerns and re-opening optimism.

The domestically focused mid-cap index inched 0.1% higher, with travel and real estate stocks

leading the gains.

Among other stocks, British e-commerce company The Hut Group

rose 1.4% after it said it would buy UK-based online beauty retailer Cult Beauty for 275 million pounds ($382.91 million).

Rolls-Royce gained 1.4% as a Spanish newspaper report said the company is set to sell its Spain-based ITP Aero unit to U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital and Spanish group Sener for 1.6 billion euros ($1.9 billion).

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ UK homebuilders on recovery path even as end of tax holiday nears

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V)

((Amal.S@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 3677;))

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