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UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 rises as PM Johnson stops short of full lockdown

Tue, 22nd Sep 2020 09:48

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

* PM urges work from home, pubs to close at 10 p.m.

* Mid-caps index gives up gains as insurers slide

* Beazley sees COVID-19 insurance claims doubling

* Kingfisher tops FTSE on HY profit jump

* FTSE 100 up 0.4%; FTSE 250 drops 0.3%
(Updates to close)

By Susan Mathew

Sept 22 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 broke a four-session
losing run on Tuesday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson
introduced restrictions to curb a resurgence in COVID-19 cases
in Britain without resorting to another full-blown lockdown.

Johnson urged citizens to work from home where possible and
ordered bars and restaurants to close early, with the new
restrictions likely to last six months. He warned more could
come if these prove insufficient.

After losing almost 5% over the last four sessions, the FTSE
100 jumped as much as 1.2% after the announcement,
before closing 0.4% higher.

It had marked its worst day in over three months on Monday
on news that Johnson was considering another lockdown, one the
economy can ill-afford, following scientific warnings that
deaths in Britain could soar without urgent action.

"The rhetoric of Boris Johnson (on Monday) was a lot worse
than what the measures are," said Michael Baker, analyst at ETX
Capital in London. "The measures declared are a lot less
crippling that than a full-scale lockdown."

"Any sort of (market) moves now are going to be purely based
on how the government reacts to the virus rather than what the
virus is actually doing," he added.

Internationally focused firms on the blue-chip index
benefited further from a slide in the pound.

The mid-cap index had reversed early losses to gain
up to 0.5%, but was back in the red as insurers
slumped.

Beazley dropped 14.1% on a likely doubling in
claims, while other insurers were hit after Britain's Financial
Conduct Authority proposed stopping insurers from charging
existing car and home insurance customers more than new
ones.

Meanwhile, home improvements retailer Kingfisher
topped the FTSE 100 after it reported a 23% jump in first half
profit, while payments processor Network International
surged 25% after.
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu, Patrick Graham and Alison Williams)

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