Supermarkets spur seventh straight day FTSE gains
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Supermarkets spur seventh straight day FTSE gains UPDATED 21 Jul 2009 | 08:50  
Supermarkets spur seventh straight day FTSE gains

By Simon Falush

LONDON (Reuters) - Strength in supermarkets, buoyed by strong sales, led Britain's top share index gains for a seventh straight day banks early on Tuesday, as investor confidence on the corporate outlook brightened further.

By 0812 GMT the FTSE 100 was up 21.88 points, 0.5 percent, at 4,465.50 after it ended 54.87 points, or 1.3 percent higher on Monday to close at 4,443.62, its highest close since June 11.

Wm Morrison was the biggest blue-chip winner, up 7.6 percent after Britain's fourth largest supermarket group said it expects its full-year results to be ahead of earlier expectations.

"The general sense, as results season is upon us, is that there will be fewer negative surprises than in 2008... it will be comfortable which is helping increase risk appetite," said Jeremy Batstone Carr, equity strategist at Charles Stanley.

Other supermarkets also traded sharply higher with Tesco and Sainsbury adding 1.8 and 2.1 percent, respectively.

However, other retailers struggled. Next fell 1.7 percent despite raising profit guidance as investors booked profits after recent gains while Kingfisher lost 1.6 percent.

Other moves were relatively muted as investors looked to cash in profits after a 6 percent gain the index posted last week.

Miners were broadly in positive territory despite slightly weaker metals prices.

Rio Tinto, Kazakhmys, Anglo American, Lonmin and BHP Billiton added between 0.5 and 1.8 percent.

Defensive stocks were also well-bid as investors rotated holdings into more recession proof areas after booking gains in cyclical companies like commodity plays and banks.

British American Tobacco, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and medical equipment manufacturer Smith & Nephew added 0.5-1.1 percent.

Friends Provident was one of the heaviest fallers, down 0.9 percent after it rejected a revised offer from Resolution, saying the financial buyout firm's structure were "totally inappropriate" for a public company.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has plenty of tools to push borrowing costs up when the economy recovers, Chairman Ben Bernanke said, while his counterparts in Australia turned more upbeat on the outlook for global growth.

Eyes will be on more corporate earnings results from major U.S. companies later in the session, with Yahoo, Apple, Coca-Cola, Merck and DuPont reporting.

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