Strong Earnings Pull FTSE 100 Higher Ahead of BoE Meet, Election Day(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 edged higher on Thursday, boosted by heavyweight consumer staple stocks and positive earnings updates from Next and Melrose Industries, while investors eyed Bank of England’s policy decision and local and regional elections.
The blue-chip index rose 0.3%, with fashion retailer Next gaining 2.1% after it raised its profit outlook for the 2021-22 year for the second time in two months.
Engineer Melrose gained 1.2% after it said it was performing “modestly” ahead of expectations, with operating margins in the first quarter improving faster than expected.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.2%.
The BoE is expected to raise 2021 GDP forecast sharply from its previous estimate of 5% growth at 1100 GMT, and it might start to slow its pandemic emergency support.
Voters in England, Scotland and Wales head to the polls on Thursday in a series of different elections, with a vote for the Scottish parliament and one for a seat in Westminster in focus for clues to Britain’s future political landscape.
(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)