BUSINESS CLOSE: GDP jumps 0.8%; Heathrow traffic remains depressed

BUSINESS CLOSE: FTSE makes gains; UK GDP growth beats expectations; Heathrow traffic still half of 2019 levels; Avast exits Russia and Belarus

London’s top stock markets ended the week higher following positive comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin about talks with Ukraine, while upbeat GDP figures also improved sentiment.

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.8 per cent to 7,155.64, while the more UK-focused FTSE 250 jumped 1.3 per cent to 20,206.61. 

Britain’s economy rebounded more quickly than expected in January, jumping 0.8 per cent compared to forecasts of 0.2 per cent, figures from the Office for National Statistics show. 

Meanwhile, Putin said there had been some progress in Moscow’s talks with Ukraine, but provided no details. 

In company news, passenger numbers at London’s Heathrow remained around 50 per cent below their pre-pandemic levels in February, at only 2.8 million which is 15 per cent below the airport’s forecast. 

FTSE 100-listed antivirus tech firm Avast has withdrawn the availability of its products from Russia and Belarus, and suspended all marketing and sales operations in the countries. 

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Passenger numbers at London’s Heathrow remain well below pre-pandemic levels and headwinds are mounting for Britain’s airport hub