GSK pulls FTSE 100 out of three-day rut, focus on Fed

(Reuters) - Pharmaceuticals giant GSK helped Britain’s main bourse break a three-day losing streak even as all eyes were on the Fed, ahead of a key announcement that will set the course of interest-rate hikes in the world’s largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) logo is seen on top of GSK Asia House in Singapore, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Loriene Perera/File Photo

The FTSE 100 .FTSE closed 1 percent higher and the FTSE 250 .FTMC added 0.6 percent.

The biggest winner was GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), which rose 4 percent after saying it would combine its consumer health business with Pfizer’s (PFE.N) in a joint venture with sales of 9.8 billion pounds ($12.41 billion).

GSK rose as much as 8.3 percent earlier in the session after announcing plans to split into two businesses - one for prescription drugs and vaccines, the other for over-the-counter products.

In the macro space, investors were on tenterhooks waiting for signs from the Fed later in the day on the number of U.S. interest-rate hikes next year.

Oil and related stocks provided the biggest support to the FTSE 100, with industry heavyweights Shell (RDSa.AS) and BP (BP.L) rising over 1 percent as crude prices bounced back following steep losses on oversupply worries.

Copper also rose on hopes the U.S. central bank would slow the pace of interest rate rise, leading to miners Rio Tinto (RIO.L), Glencore (GLEN.L), BHP (BHPB.L) and Anglo American (AAL.L) rising more than 2 percent.

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