BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT/PARIS (dpa-AFX) - U.K. stocks advanced on Wednesday and the pound held steady after GDP data for March beat market expectations.
The U.K. economy contracted in the first quarter as school closures and a large fall in retail sales earlier in the quarter dragged down growth, the Office for National Statistics reported.
Gross domestic product shrank 1.5 percent sequentially, reversing a 1.3 percent rise in the fourth quarter. Economists had forecast a sequential drop of 1.6 percent.
GDP grew 2.1 percent month-on-month in March as schools and some part of the economy reopened through the month.
The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 40 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,989 after falling as much as 2.5 percent on Tuesday.
Spirits maker Diageo rallied 3 percent. The company restarted its capital return program and said that it expects to report organic operating growth of at least 14 percent in fiscal 2021.
UDG Healthcare shares soared 21 percent. The pharmaceuticals services company has agreed to a 2.61 billion-pound ($3.69 billion) takeover by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
Just Eat Takeaway.com NV tumbled 3.7 percent after rival food delivery firm Delivery Hero SE announced plans to re-enter its home market of Germany next month.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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