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Friday, January 28, 2022

FTSE 100 steady as bank rally offsets homebuilders

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– UK’s blue-chip index held steady in early deals on Monday as banking shares extended a rally on expectations of interest rate hikes, while homebuilders were hit by $5.4 billion in costs to remove cladding from buildings.

The FTSE 100 was flat by 0813 GMT following weekly gains spurred by a rotation into sectors such as banks, oil & gas and mining as investors priced in interest rate hikes by major central banks.

Shares of Berkeley Group, Barratt Developments, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey were down between 2.0% and 2.5% after Britain ordered housebuilders to pay around $5.4 billion to help remove dangerous cladding from buildings following a deadly 2017 London fire.

Citi also downgraded Persimmon to “neutral” from “buy”.

The domestically focused FTSE mid-cap index was also flat, following weekly losses as a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant hit sentiment.

Plus500 rose 2.5% after the online trading platform said it expects annual results to exceed market expectations, even as it reported slower fourth-quarter growth.

Spire Healthcare gained 1% after England’s health service said it had struck a deal with private health firms to provide crucial treatments should Omicron overwhelm the National Health Service.

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