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Britain's FTSE sets 3-week high

Tuesday, August 19 09:30:20

Britain's top share index climbed to its highest level in nearly three weeks on Tuesday, tracking strong gains in the U.S. market, with positive corporate news helping companies such as Imperial Tobacco and Persimmon.

Imperial Tobacco advanced 1.6 percent after saying it expected to report modest adjusted earnings growth in the full year after volumes from its top growth brands rose by 3 percent in the first nine months.

UK housebuilders gained after Persimmon posted a 57 percent rise in pretax profit. It sold 6,408 new homes in the six months to end-June and said it was trading ahead of last year in the traditionally slower summer period.

Persimmon results came in a day after Bovis Homes posted strong first-half results, boosted by a record number of completions, and said it expected to see a significant increase in 2014 profits.

The Thomson Reuters UK Homebuilding index rose 1 percent, helped by a 1 to 3.6 percent rise in shares of Persimmon, Bovis Homes and Barratt Developments.

The UK blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent at 6,769.44 points by 0909 GMT after rising to its highest since late July, also helped by fading investor concerns over the Ukrainian crisis.

However, gains in the broader market were capped by sharp falls recorded by some individual companies.

Global miner BHP Billiton fell 3.6 percent after reporting an 8 percent rise in second-half underlying attributable profit to $5.69 billion, slightly below forecasts.

It also held off announcing a highly anticipated buyback, disappointing investors who had been hoping for a buyback of up to $8 billion, according to UBS estimates. (Reuters)

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