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* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct
* Financials among top risers
* Mid cap Beazley posts profit beat
* Miners lag
By Kit Rees
LONDON, Feb 3 UK shares advanced on Friday as
financials rose, with earnings in focus among smaller firms as
Beazley jumped after a strong set of results.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent at
7,171.20 points by 1051 GMT.
Banking stocks Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland
were among the top gainers, up 2.5 percent and 1.8
percent respectively with analysts citing renewed positivity
around the sector following last year's broader "reflation
trade" which picked up pace after the election of U.S. president
"Generally investor sentiment around the banks, especially
with Donald Trump coming in, is starting to improve," Jonathan
Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments,
said, adding that the fact that the UK banking sector had eased
over the course of the week had brought it down to more
A broker upgrade helped ITV rise 1.6 percent, as
Investec upped its rating on the stock to "buy" from "hold".
"While we remain concerned over long-term TV prospects,
near-term sentiment is unusually gloomy post a tougher FY16 and
Brexit/domestic fears," Investec analyst Steve Liechti said in a
"These negatives look increasingly priced in, in our view,
with recent better/less bad trade press comment on TV
Among smaller British companies, earnings fuelled mid cap
Beazley which jumped 8.6 percent to hit a record high
after the Lloyd's of London insurer's profit beat expectations.
"Beazley has set the bar high for its peers amongst the
quoted Lloyd's insurers with a terrific set of results for
2016," Eamonn Flanagan, analyst at Shore Capital Markets, said
in a note.
Fellow blue chip insurers Prudential and Admiral
Group also rose.
The FTSE 100 index, however, was on track to post its third
week of losses in a row.
Mining companies were the biggest fallers,
however, with the index down 2.6 percent and set to post its
biggest weekly loss since mid-December.
Shares in Glencore, Rio Tinto, Antofagasta
, BHP Billiton and Anglo American all
fell between 2.7 percent to 3.4 percent as metals prices
retreated, with copper on the backfoot after China raising
interest rates spooked metals markets.
(Reporting by Kit Rees)