FTSE outperforms on downbeat eurozone data

UK stocks outshone their European peers at midday on Wednesday after downbeat eurozone economic data weighed on continental markets.

The export-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.3% while the pan-European STOXX 600 slipped 0.2%, as the latest euro area sentiment indicators disappointed.

Figures from the European Commission showed economic sentiment dropped more than expected to 93.3 in August from 94.5 in July. This wounded hopes of a rapid recovery from the region’s energy crisis.

The gloomy data helped lift London’s FTSE 100 relative to counterparts on the continent. Outperformance by global mining giants also aided Britain’s blue-chip index.

Housebuilders advanced even though fresh Bank of England figures confirmed the UK’s housing market slowdown continued in July. Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments all rose over 1% each.

Insurer Prudential jumped 3% to top the FTSE 100 risers after swinging to a $1.2 billion first-half profit boosted by its Asia business. But analysts noted slower than expected growth in China.

On the FTSE 250, pharma services provider Instem plunged 40% after revealing it has accepted a £203 million private equity takeover bid from healthcare specialist Archimed.

The offer triggered heavy Instem share losses despite representing a significant premium. Investors seemed disappointed at losing future upside potential as a listed company.

Meanwhile, in-game advertising firm Bidstack surged 20% on a new commercial deal making Venatus its exclusive direct sales partner in multiple territories including the US and UK.

But Africa-focused forestry firm Woodbois dropped 15% on coup reports from Gabon, where it has production facilities. Woodbois said it would monitor any impact.

Overall, UK stocks showed resilience despite global growth fears lingering. Downside risks persist, but investors found reasons to buy select opportunities.