FTSE 100 Little Changed As Pound Rises

U.K. stocks held steady on Monday as investors awaited details on the next phase of lockdown easing in England. A stronger pound kept gains in check after results from U.K. local and regional elections showed support for the ruling Conservative Party.

Conservatives won the parliamentary seat for Hartlepool, which has been held by Labour since its creation in 1974.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 2 points at 7,132 after rising 0.8 percent on Friday.

Provident Financial slumped nearly 6 percent. The consumer finance company announced it is withdrawing from doorstep lending after 140 years.

Victrex jumped 8 percent. After posting a fall in first-half profit, the supplier of high performance polymer solutions said it remains comfortable with current full year expectations.

Bakery chain Greggs soared 11 percent after saying it believes it could get back to normal profits this year.

Travel-related stocks were declining after only 12 countries have made the initial "green list" where people can holiday abroad without having to quarantine on return to the U.K.

British Airways-owner IAG dropped 1.7 percent, easyJet tumbled 2.6 percent and Wizz Air Holdings lost 3.3 percent.

In economic releases, U.K. house prices reached a record high in April as stamp duty holiday continued to provide impetus to the property market, data from Lloyds Bank subsidiary Halifax and IHS Markit showed on Monday.

House prices grew 1.4 percent month-on-month in April, following a 1.1 percent rise in March. The average property was valued at GBP 258,204.

On a yearly basis, house prices growth accelerated to 8.2 percent from 6.5 percent a month ago. This was the highest annual rate in five years.

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