FILE PHOTO: People walk past the London Stock Exchange Group offices in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File photo

(Reuters) – British stocks rose on Thursday as a set of positive corporate results helped outweigh concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases, while Unilever was the worst blue-chip performer after it cut its full-year margin forecasts.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index inched 0.1% higher, led by travel, retail, and banking stocks.

Unilever Plc dropped 4% after it reduced annual operating margin forecast while reporting higher-than-expected underlying sales growth for the second quarter.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 0.7%, with Howden Joinery Group and IG Group being the top boost to the index on positive results.

Transport firm FirstGroup jumped 3.1% after it increased its planned shareholder returns by 135 million pounds ($185.29 million) after closing the sale of its U.S. bus assets to private equity firm EQT Infrastructure.

Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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