UPDATE 1-London stocks shine on boost from gold miners, Hastings buyout

05 Aug 2020 / 16:20 H.

    (For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window)

    * Gold tops $2,000 an ounce on global economic uncertainty

    * Hastings surges on agreeing $2.2 billion buyout

    * Coke bottler, bookmaker William Hill post upbeat results

    * Life insurer Legal & General drops on disappointing profit

    * FTSE 100, FTSE 250 both jump 1% (Adds comments; updates prices)

    By Sagarika Jaisinghani

    Aug 5 (Reuters) - London-listed shares jumped on Wednesday as record gold prices powered miners of the commodity, while insurer Hastings Group soared after agreeing to a $2.2 billion buyout offer.

    A 17.8% surge for the motor insurer drove the FTSE 250 up 1%. Almost all the mid-cap sub-indexes were trading higher, led by industrials, consumer discretionary and materials stocks.

    The export-laden FTSE 100 also gained 1%, with investors watching signs of progress in a U.S. fiscal relief bill. White House negotiators have vowed to work "around the clock" to reach a spending deal by the end of the week.

    "There is optimism that we'll get some form of stimulus bill and we'll continue to range trade in Europe (since) at the moment it is difficult to take any sort of view to how the economy is going to look in the next six months," said Michael Hewson, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

    Miners Centamin Plc and Hochschild Mining Plc jumped 5.8% and 7.3%, respectively, as gold prices topped $2,000 an ounce due to a coronavirus-driven economic slump.

    Historic global stimulus has helped UK stock markets roar back from a pandemic-fuelled crash in March, but the indexes have recently struggled to climb higher as economic data points to a deep recession and surging COVID-19 cases threaten further lockdowns.

    The Bank of England is due to announce its next policy decision at 0600 GMT on Thursday, with focus on how fast it expects the domestic economy to rebound. Some early macroeconomic figures have signalled a pickup in the housing and auto industries with the easing of business restrictions.

    Soft drinks bottler Coca Cola HBC rose 4.2% as it said business had recovered from April lows, while bookmaker William Hill gained 3.7% on reporting a better-than-expected first-half profit.

    Life insurer Legal & General fell 2.3% on posting a drop in first-half operating profit. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Rashmi Aich)

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