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London stocks gain as AstraZeneca, Indivior jump

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* FTSE 100 rises 0.6%, FTSE 250 adds 0.2%

Jan 26 (Reuters) - British stocks rose on Tuesday after drugmaker AstraZeneca denied reports that its COVID-19 vaccine was less effective in the elderly population, while Indivior surged after its former parent withdrew a $1.4 billion legal claim.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index climbed 0.5%, with healthcare stocks leading the gains, while the domestically focussed mid-cap index added 0.2%.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca gained 0.7% and was the top boost to the FTSE 100 after denying reports that its COVID-19 vaccine is not very effective for people aged over 65.

German media reports said officials fear the vaccine may not be approved in the European Union for use in the elderly.

However, limiting gains was a jump in Britain’s unemployment rate to 5.0%, its highest since 2016, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to take its toll on the economy, official figures showed.

Britain’s Rolls-Royce tumbled 7% after it downgraded expectations for how much its engines would fly this year and warned of a big cash outflow, blaming extra travel restrictions to stop the spread of a new COVID-19 variant.

Indivior jumped 10.1% to the top of the FTSE 250 index after it said late on Monday that former parent Reckitt Benckiser would withdraw a $1.4 billion claim against the company. (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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