LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Advance As Insurers, AstraZeneca Rise

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Brexit bill vote set for Monday

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U.K. stocks rose Monday, with insurers among advancers as the impact of Hurricane Irma appeared not as widespread as anticipated.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 7,408.71. The index on Friday fell 0.3% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-falls-headed-for-weekly-loss-as-miners-pull-back-2017-09-08) as investors headed into a potentially eventful weekend including Hurricane Irma's move toward Florida and a possible missile test in North Korea.

But investors came into Monday's trading session with no missile test from North Korea. Meanwhile, Irma made landfall on Sunday as a Category 3 hurricane on the west coast of Florida. Miami and other areas on the east coast of the state avoided a direct hit.

Insurance stocks in the U.K. and across Europe pushed higher Monday. Prudential PLC (PRU.LN) rose 1.8% and on the mid-cap FTSE 250 , shares of Beazley PLC (BEZ.LN) jumped 5.8% and Hiscox Ltd. (HSX.LN) leapt 4%.

Hurricane Irma has weakened to a Category 1 storm (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/worst-case-scenario-as-hurricane-irma-makes-landfall-in-florida-2017-09-10) and was moving toward Tampa, Fla.

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"Investors are feeling somewhat relieved today after the most dire predictions in terms of a disaster caused by Hurricane Irma have evaporated. The damage caused by Hurricane Irma is still colossal as streets have been changed into rivers and nearly 3 million people are without any power," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets UK, in a note. "However, thankfully, the overall impact of Irma is falling short of prediction."

In other moves Monday, shares of AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) rose 1.8% after the company said it's had positive results from two trials for lung cancer treatments (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/astrazeneca-positive-results-in-2-cancer-trials-2017-09-11).

Associated British Foods PLC (ABF.LN) raised its outlook for underlying growth in fiscal 2017, stemming from a stronger profit performance from its fast-fashion chain Primark. But shares of the company, which also makes ingredients, fell 1.2%.

The pound bought $1.3187, not far off from $1.3197 late Friday in New York.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 11, 2017 04:15 ET (08:15 GMT)