FTSE 100 up on stimulus hopes despite ECB snub

London’s main index rose as investors bet central banks would soon ease policy in response to concerns about global growth, though the rally was dampened after the European Central Bank delayed any potential interest rate hike to next year.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.6 per cent. The mid-cap FTSE 250 gave up its earlier gains to end marginally lower as financial stocks slipped as investors were left disappointed by the ECB’s cheap loan lending programme for banks, according to Reuters.

The ECB pledged to keep its interest rates unchanged at least through the first half of 2020, instead of the end of this year as it had said in March, which was not dovish enough for investors counting on policy easing in the near-term.

“Instead of taking a rate hike off the table, it’s instead decided to simply push the first hike further out. Head still in the sand. Markets still pricing for a cut before then,” Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson said.

Most of the FTSE 100’s gains came earlier in the session as worries over Washington’s escalating trade tensions with Beijing and Mexico gave way to hopes that major central banks would provide fresh stimulus in response.

“We’re at a ‘bad news is good news’ point now for stocks as markets turn back to their old habit of requiring weaker data to push up expectations for stimulus,” Wilson said.

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