×

Easing inflation boosts Britain's FTSE, Carillion climbs again

(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

* FTSE 100 turns higher after inflation figures

* Weaker pound helps blue-chips gain

* Royal Mail, British Land shine after results

* Carillion climbs again on new contract wins

LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) - British shares edged up on Tuesday, boosted by inflation showing signs of easing, and positive earnings updates rolling in from Royal Mail and British Land.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent by 0845 GMT, propelled higher by a weaker pound as investors adjusted interest rate expectations after lower inflation figures.

Inflation unexpectedly eased in June for the first time since October, surprising the market and adding to the likelihood the Bank of England will keep interest rates on hold in August.

"The Bank of England's rhetoric has taken an increasingly hawkish tone in recent weeks," said Hargreaves Lansdown senior economist Ben Brettell.

"However if today's pullback in inflation marks the start of a sustained decline, the pressure on the Bank to raise rates will ease."

Major companies on the FTSE 100 benefit from a weaker pound making their exports relatively cheaper abroad.

Britain's second-largest listed property developer British Land was a top blue-chip performer, as investors cheered a 300 million share buyback plan which added to signs of a pick-up in share buybacks among European corporates, a trend Morgan Stanley analysts last week predicted would accelerate.

"British Land's 300 million pound buyback confirms the limited opportunities the group sees to deploy surplus capital into its end-markets," said Liberum analysts.

"Given the significant discount to net asset value at which the shares are trading, this would be NAV accretive with the scale of enhancement subject to the amount of share bought and at what price," said analysts at Stifel.

A flurry of mail activity around the UK election helped Royal Mail perform better this quarter, sending its shares up 3.1 percent to the top of the FTSE.

"We remain concerned that parcels growth is not fast enough to offset the decline in letters," said Liberum analsyts, who have a 'sell' on the stock.

Mid-cap IG Group jumped 9 percent to the top of the STOXX, after the spreadbetter firm released a better than expected statement.

"We regard these as very solid results in a year where market volatility has been at a multi-year low," said Shore Capital analysts.

Greater market volatility tends to bolster trading firms' profits as jittery investors turn portfolios around more frequently.

Crisis-hit British construction firm Carillion again led mid-caps, jumping 12 percent after its joint venture won two further contracts, worth 158 million pounds, to supply services for British military sites.

The stock was now up 50 percent from last week's lows.

Defence contractor G4S rose to the top of the FTSE 100 as investors read across from Carillion's gains.

Carillion helped the mid-caps rise 0.4 percent, outperforming blue-chips.

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Keith Weir)