U.K. blue-chip stocks advanced to a fresh record on Wednesday, as bank shares rose while those of home builders lost ground. The pound, meanwhile, recovered some losses suffered after the release of U.K. economic data. The FTSE 100 index UKX, +0.23% was up 0.2% to end at 7,748.51, notching an all-time closing high and building on Tuesday‘s jump of 0.5%. The pound on Wednesday bought $1.3512, clawing back from an intraday low of $1.3482. Sterling late Tuesday in New York fetched $1.3539. The 10-year gilt yield recently was up less than 1 basis point to 1.28%, according to Tradeweb. Yields rise when prices fall. A tug-of-war between sectors drove action on the London benchmark, even as the positive investing mood for stocks persisted. Bank stocks got a lift, with Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC RBS, +4.60% higher after a ratings upgrade. Bank stocks across Europe outperformed the broader market Wednesday, keying off sector gains on Wall Street on Tuesday as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield crossed above 2.5% for the first time since March 2017. Higher long-term yields can help lift profit at banks.
On Wednesday, that 10-year yield surged toward 2.6% following a Bloomberg report that China is considering halting or slowing purchases of U.S. Treasuries. Meanwhile,shares
of home builders fell after Taylor Wimpey said it expects yearly results to be in line with expectations J Sainsbury PLC shares climbed 2.2% after the supermarket chain said same-
store sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2018, which includes the key Christmas period, grew 1.1%. But the company also said “market conditions remain challenging” and that it’s cautious about the consumer environment in the year ahead.
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