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FTSE 100 to end September quarter on a high after bright GDP data

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By Siddarth S

UK’s FTSE 100 was set to end the September quarter on a high note on Friday after data showed Britain’s economy fared better since the start of the pandemic than previously thought.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) rose 0.7% by 0837 GMT and is seen ending 1.7% higher in the September quarter, rebounding from a 1.3% fall in the previous quarter.

However, the benchmark index is on track for a second consecutive weekly decline.

Britain’s second-quarter GDP of 2023 was 1.8% larger than in the final three months of 2019, the last full quarter before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growth was faster than that of Germany or France.

Domestic GDP in the second quarter was confirmed at 0.2% higher than the previous quarter in line with the economists’ forecasts polled by Reuters, as the Office of National Statistics released revisions to official data.

The sterling rose 0.3% against the U.S. dollar after the data.

“UK economy is actually holding up much better and the consumer is more resilient and I think that could potentially mean another rate hike by the end of the year and then higher-for-longer rates,” said Anthi Tsouvali, multi-asset strategist at State Street Global Markets.

Traders are betting a 36% chance for the Bank of England to raise interest rates to 5.50% by year-end after the central bank unexpectedly held rates steady last week.

Consumer staples and discretionary stocks rose with personal goods (.FTNMX402040) and homebuilders (.FTNMX402020) climbing over 2% each, while retailers (.FTNMX404010) rose more than 1%.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index (.FTMC) leaped 1.3%, boosted by a 10.9% jump in the shares of Aston Martin (AML.L) after the luxury carmaker said Chairman Lawrence Stroll’s Yew Tree Consortium further raised its stake in the firm by 3.27% to 26.23%.

Severn Trent (SVT.L) shares rose 2.1% after the British water supplier said it would raise 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion) in new equity.

Elsewhere, British lenders approved the fewest mortgages in six months in August, data showed.