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Upbeat earnings lift London stocks, Hastings surges on…

Aug 5 – UK shares rose on Wednesday as a clutch of quarterly earnings reports signalled a rebound in consumer demand following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, while insurer Hastings surged after agreeing to a $2.2 billion buyout offer.

The motor insurer jumped 17.5% to the top of the FTSE 250 after agreeing to be bought by Finland’s Sampo and South Africa’s Rand Merchant Investment (RMI) .

The mid-cap FTSE 250 was up 0.5%, also boosted by industrial, consumer discretionary and financial stocks.

The export-laden FTSE 100 gained 0.8%, with investors also watching signs of progress in a U.S. fiscal relief bill. White House negotiators have vowed to work “around the clock” to reach a spending deal by the end of the week.

Soft drinks bottler Coca Cola HBC rose 4.7% as it said business had recovered from April lows.

Bookmaker William Hill added 5.5% on reporting a better-than-expected first-half profit, while announcing 119 UK betting shops closed by coronavirus lockdowns would not reopen as it combines its online and retail British businesses. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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