LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Flips Higher As Central Bank Boss Wants Rates Held Steady

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Pound falls below $1.27

U.K. stocks swung higher Tuesday, pushed up as the head of the Bank of England said he's not inclined to raise interest rates at a time when the economic picture appears murky in Britain.

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The FTSE 100 gained 0.4% to 7,551.43, led by consumer-related shares. But bank shares were mixed as BOE Gov. Mark Carney advocated a lower-for-longer scenario in interest rates.

Barclays PLC was also in the spotlight as the lender faced criminal charges in the U.K.

The FTSE 100 was slightly lower at the open, but was thrust out of the red as the pound was shoved below $1.27 as Carney spoke at Mansion House in London (

Policy makers last week voted 5-3 to hold the key interest rate at a record low 0.25%, an unexpected tally as analysts had expected at the most one policy maker to vote for a rate hike.

"From my perspective, given the mixed signals on consumer spending and business investment, and given the still subdued domestic inflationary pressures, in particular anaemic wage growth, now is not yet the time to begin that adjustment," said Carney in Tuesday's speech.

Read:This is what elite fund managers are watching closely -- and it's not Trump or Brexit (

Among top movers, home builders Persimmon PLC (PSN.LN) and Taylor Wimpey PLC (TW.LN) picked up 2% and 1%, respectively. Consumer-goods heavyweight Unilever PLC (ULVR.LN) (ULVR.LN) rose 1.5% and drug maker AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) (AZN.LN) was 1.1% higher.

A lower value of the pound can help boost revenue made overseas by multinational companies, many of which are listed on the FTSE 100.

Among banks shares, Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LLOY.LN) (LLOY.LN) fell 1.2%, but Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.LN) was up 0.3% and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS.LN) (RBS.LN) tacked on 0.4%.

Barclays PLC (BCS) (BCS) was down 0.2% after the U.K. Serious Fraud Office charged the bank and four former executives with conspiracy to commit fraud ( in a case related to fundraising in Qatar during the financial crisis.

Elsewhere on the FTSE 100, Wolseley PLC (WOS.LN) said quarterly sales rose ( that it was on track to meet full-year expectations. But shares of the plumbing and building supplies company were down 2.2%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 20, 2017 04:22 ET (08:22 GMT)