LONDON (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 reversed early losses on Tuesday, helped by the completion of the long-awaited takeover of miner Xstrata by commodities trader Glencore which boosted both stocks.
Xstrata led the risers, adding 3.1 percent, after its shareholders approved the $31 billion deal which had been on the cards ever since Glencore listed last year.
Mining stocks, which were down 0.5 percent at their session low at 02:45 p.m. British time, rebounded to finish 0.5 percent up following the news.
"We consider the long-term investment case for the merged Glencore Xstrata to be compelling," analysts at Jefferies said in a note, reiterating their buy recommendation on both stocks. Glencore gained 1.6 percent, with both stocks trading over double their average 90-day volume.
Technical analysts at Day By Day saw more upside to Xstrata shares up until strong resistance at 1,069 pence, with support at 940p.
At the close, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 10.44, or 0.2 percent, at 5,748.10, despite hitting an intraday low of 5,706.70 in morning trading.
While the materials sector was supported by Xstrata and Glencore, other main gainers were defensive sectors.
Telecoms led sectoral risers, pulled up by heavyweight Vodafone, which rose 1.1 percent. It added 3.5 points to the index, the most by a single contributor.
"It's got an 8 percent yield, and the fact that it's one of the outperformers today I think is quite telling, that people are starting to feel comfortable with it again," Nick Xanders, head of European equity strategy at brokerage BTIG, said.
The stock had lost 18.8 percent in three months between the middle of August and the middle of November.
Among sectoral fallers, financials, which includes banks, insurers and brokerages, were the biggest drag, having outperformed during last week's falls.
"In the five days last week where the markets fell three or four percent, the banks were one of the top performers," Xanders said.
"In the last five days before today, banks were up two percent, and the market was down 50 basis points, so you're looking at a 2.5 percent outperformance, and I think people are just unwinding that."
The most heavily traded stock on the index was Intercontinental Hotels, trading at 332 percent of its average 90-day volume and adding 2.7 percent following a Barclays upgrade of the hotelier to "overweight" from "equal weight".
Barclays said in a note it expected Intercontinental to sell some $800 million in assets, with proceeds earmarked for returns to shareholders in 2013.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)