U.K. stocks finished slightly higher Wednesday, erasing losses that came as global markets shuddered at the resignation of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The former Goldman Sachs executive was widely seen as a markets-friendly and stabilizing force in the Trump administration. His departure stoked worries about the likelihood of global trade wars, already a concern for investors. Among individual stocks, the big winner Wednesday was Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, as traders reacted favorablyto the engine maker’s earnings report. The FTSE 100 index rose 0.2% to end at 7,157.84, building on Tuesday’s 0.4% gain. The pound bought $1.3884, slightly lower than the $1.3888 from late Tuesday in New York. Global equities slumped but then pared losses as investors reacted to the news late Tuesday that Cohn is leaving his role as the head of U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council. The news comes after Trump said he’ll impose tariffs on steel and aluminumimports, a move Cohn had opposed. Trump is expected to sign an order this week for across-the-board tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminumimports. Mining stocks were big losers in London, as a global trade war sparked by the tariffs could sap demand for metals and weigh on economic growth world-wide. Rolls-Royce Holdings shares rallied 11.5% for the FTSE 100’s biggest gain. The aircraft engine maker swung to a 2017 pretaxprofit of £4.9 billion ($6.79 million) and said it expects mid-single-digit revenue growth in 2018. With U.S. steel levies looming, shares of miners traded lower. Anglo American fell 0.1%, while iron-ore producers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gave up 1.7% and 0.2%, respectively. Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland were up 0.4%. The majority state-owned lender late Tuesday agreed to a $500 million settlement of charges it had sold faulty residential mortgage-backed securities to
investors in the run-up to the global financial crisis. U.K. house prices rose 1.8% in the last three months to February compared with a year ago, according to data from mortgage
lender Halifax. That’s slower than the 2.2% annual growth recorded in January. Prices in February grew 0.4% compared with January, after two straight months of declines.
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