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UK stocks track gains in Europe, Dr. Martens sinks on profit warning

Kitco News

Nov 24 (Reuters) - UK's main stock indexes rose on Thursday on signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve might ease its aggressive stance on interest rate hikes, while Dr. Martens tumbled after the bootmaker warned of weaker demand ahead of busy Christmas season.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) rose 0.3% in thin trading as U.S. markets were shut for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday after minutes from the Fed's November meeting showed policymakers agreed it would "likely soon be appropriate" to slow the pace of interest rate hikes.

"I think the takeaway is that we're possibly at the start of a more dovish narrative from the Fed and that, going forward, there is hope that dovish narrative will gain momentum," said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital.

The domestically focused FTSE 250 midcaps (.FTMC) rose 0.7%, also reflecting the upbeat mood in equity markets.

A weak spot was Dr. Martens (DOCS.L), which tumbled 20% and looked set for its biggest percentage drop ever, after warning that its annual core profit margin would be lower than last year.

UK stock markets have recovered sharply since a botched mini-budget roiled sentiment in October, with investors hoping that measures by the new government will help instil confidence even as Britain faces what is expected to be a lengthy recession.

British energy regulator Ofgem said its price cap for average household energy bills would rise by about 21% to 4,279 pounds ($5,172) a year from January to the end of March 2023.

Among other stocks, United Oil & Gas (UOGU.L) slumped 21.5% after the oil and gas exploration company cut its full-year production forecast for its Abu Sennan licence.

Shares of Vodafone , Imperial Brands (IMB.L) and National Grid (NG.L) slid as they traded without entitlement for dividend payout.

(This story has been corrected to fix the company name in the headline to Dr. Martens)

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Anil D'Silva
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