LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Turns Higher, As Home Builders Get A Boost

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Investors keep gaze fixed on U.K. vote

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U.K. stocks rose Wednesday, coming back from a drop at the market open, as upbeat price data helped lift home builder shares and investors focused on the runup to the U.K. general election.

The FTSE 100 index turned up 0.2% to 7,541.11. In the red were the basic materials, consumer goods and technology groups, while the financial, consumer services, industrial, and oil and gas sectors were rising.

The London benchmark closed with losses on the first two days of the week, in the runup to three key events Thursday: The U.K. general election, the European Central Bank meeting and testimony by former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey.

Read:Draghi's ECB may take 'baby steps' toward ending ultraloose monetary policy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/draghis-ecb-may-take-baby-steps-toward-ending-ultraloose-monetary-policy-2017-06-06)

"Markets will probably focus on how big of a majority Theresa May will manage to secure [in the U.K. vote], if the ECB will drop aspects of its dovish forward guidance, and on whether Comey will confirm that Trump attempted to influence an FBI investigation," said Charalambos Pissouros, senior analyst at IronFX, in a note..

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"Without anything notable on the agenda today, we think that investors could keep their gaze locked on these major events," he said.

See:U.K. election -- the worst, best and most likely scenarios for stocks worldwide (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-election-the-nightmare-best-case-and-most-likely-scenarios-for-stocks-worldwide-2017-06-01)

And check out:Watch for a shake-up among U.K. stocks after Thursday's election (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/watch-for-a-shake-up-among-uk-stocks-after-thursdays-election-2017-06-06)

The pound was buying $1.2906 compared with $1.2912 late Tuesday in New York.

Stock movers: Home builder shares were higher after an update on U.K. house prices from Halifax. Prices in the three months to May were 3.3% higher than a year earlier, compared with a FactSet estimate of a 3% gain. Prices were down 0.2% on the preceding quarter.

Shares of Taylor Wimpey PLC (TW.LN) picked up 1.7%, Persimmon PLC (PSN.LN) rose 1.5%, and Barratt Developments (BDEV.LN) added 1%.

Commodity moves: Shares in energy companies held to gains even as oil prices turned lower by about 0.6%. BP PLC (BP.LN) was up 0.6%, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) picked up 0.7%.

Investors were watching developments in Iran (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shooting-injuries-reported-in-tehrans-parliament-reports-2017-06-07), where gunmen stormed the parliament in Tehran and started shooting at guards on Wednesday, according to media reports citing Iran's state media.

In the mining group, Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) turned up by 1.1%. The company said Stuart Chambers will succeed John Parker as its chairman (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/anglo-american-names-stuart-chambers-as-chairman-2017-06-07).

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 07, 2017 04:27 ET (08:27 GMT)