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UK stocks end higher; Pets at Home tops midcaps

Wed, 25th May 2022 17:36

May 25 (Reuters) - UK stocks rose on Wednesday as investors' mood steadied after a bruising previous session, while pet supplies retailer Pets at Home topped midcap stocks after posting upbeat corporate earnings.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.5%, with commodity majors providing the biggest boost.

Glencore Plc gained 0.3% after the global miner said it anticipates paying up to $1.5 billion to settle accusations of bribery and market manipulation.

Power company SSE Plc climbed 5.7% after reporting a surge in annual profit and saying it was investing significantly more than it was making in profit to help reduce dependency on imported gas.

Its stock shed almost 8% on Tuesday, hit by a report that the British government is planning windfall taxes on power generators.

Retailer Marks & Spencer recouped early losses to end 4.8% higher, despite joining rivals in warning about the outlook for the current year and saying it will pull out of Russia.

Online supermarket and technology group Ocado Group inched 0.6% higher, after falling to the bottom of the FTSE early in the session, as Ocado Retail slashed its growth outlook in a move that also put pressure on shares of rival chains Sainsbury and Tesco.

"Ocado is going to struggle because their costs rest disproportionately on transport and logistics compared with a traditional retailer," said David Madden, market analyst at Equiti Capital.

"Costs are probably going up at a higher rate than they're increasing prices to the end consumer, and their margin is going to be squeezed."

The mid-cap index added 0.4%, with Pets at Home topping gains with a 13.2% jump after reporting annual results.

Overall, a surge in commodity prices has helped the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 outperform in 2022, although growing worries about a recession has sent the domestically focussed midcap index down over 15% this year. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amal S in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V, Aditya Soni and David Evans)

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