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British equities rise on luxury stocks boost; economic data in focus

By Khushi Singh

(Reuters) -Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed on Monday, set to snap a three-session losing streak, supported by a rise in luxury stocks such as Burberry and Diageo, while precious metal miners slipped on lower gold prices as bets on early interest rate cuts receded.

Both the blue-chip FTSE 100 and the midcap FTSE 250 added 0.2% by 9:13 GMT.

The personal goods index rose 2.3%, leading sectoral gains, as luxury retailer Burberry climbed 2.3% and Watches Of Switzerland Group rose 3.6%.

Luxury spirits maker Diageo gained 0.7%, lifting the broader beverages sector 0.6%.

Precious metal miners slipped 0.6%, hurt by a decline in gold prices, as the dollar and Treasury yields surged after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data dampened bets of early rate cuts.

“With (Federal Reserve chair) Jerome Powell reiterating three rate cuts for the year, it remains debatable as to whether gold can rally from here,” said Matt Simpson, a senior analyst at City Index.

Both UK and U.S. January services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) figures, due later in the day, will be on investors’ radar for more clues on economic strength and the trajectory of interest rate cuts.

Meanwhile, a survey showed Britain’s unemployment rate was much lower late last year than previously thought, increasing caution around early rate cuts.

The majority of money markets now expect the Bank of England will initiate interest rate cuts in their monetary policy meeting in June.

In corporate news, shares of CMC Markets gained 12.2% after the online trading platform announced layoffs representing 17% of its overall staff.

Vodafone shares fell 1% after service revenue growth in Germany slowed sharply in the third quarter.

National Grid shares advanced 1.6% after Jefferies upgraded and hiked the price target of the energy utility firm.

(Reporting by Khushi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sohini Goswami)


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