UK’s FTSE 100 starts new week higher on commodity boost

By Siddarth S and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -UK’s FTSE 100 rose on Monday, boosted by a jump in commodity-linked stocks, ahead of a slew of economic data this week that will further guide the Bank of England’s interest rate path.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 and the mid-cap index closed 0.4% higher.

Industrial metal miners jumped 2.0% as copper prices gained against a weaker dollar and top consumer China’s central bank injected liquidity.

Oil majors BP and Shell added 0.2% and 1.0%, respectively, even as crude prices slipped after rallying nearly 6% on Friday as investors mulled the potential impact of the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

Investors will keenly watch the September data on UK’s unemployment rate on Tuesday, followed by key inflation numbers on Wednesday.

UK’s consumer price index (CPI) is expected to rise to 0.4% in September from 0.3% in August, but fall to 6.5% from 6.7% on an annual basis, according to economists polled by Reuters.

“Key labour and CPI figures coming tomorrow and Wednesday may well continue to point to monetary policy needing to remain tight despite the disappointing growth numbers we saw last week,” said Stuart Cole, chief macro economist at Equiti Capital.

“So even if we saw some pick-up in risk appetite in other markets today, for the UK I think the view is likely to be to remain more aloof until these numbers are out of the way.”

The Bank of England (BoE) must not consider the fight against high inflation to be over simply because the pace of price growth has slowed, said Chief Economist Huw Pill.

Abrdn climbed 4.2% after the fund manager said it had agreed to sell its European-headquartered private equity business to Brazilian firm Patria Investments.

Ocado fell 5.8% after Barclays downgraded the online supermarket’s rating to “underweight” from “equal-weight”, while water supplier Severn Trent rose 2.8% after Jefferies upgraded the stock to “buy” from “underperform.”

Shares of Hipgnosis Songs Fund tumbled 9.3% after the music catalogues investor withdrew its proposed interim dividend.

(Reporting by Siddarth S and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza, Varun H K and Josie Kao)