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* FTSE 100 up 0.3 pct
* Financials biggest lift to index
* EasyJet helped by target upgrade
* Acacia rallies as output guidance confirmed
By Helen Reid
LONDON, June 2 British shares soared to record
highs on Friday, underpinned by stronger financials stocks, with
a wave of positive economic data lifting equities across the
The FTSE 100 index of top UK blue chips rose 0.3
percent to 7,568.9 points by 0916 GMT, while the domestically
focused mid cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.1 percent.
Global stocks hit a record high on Friday after upbeat data
on U.S. manufacturing and employment and buoyant European
factory growth boosted investor optimism.
"On the FTSE, shares are rising as part of a global cyclical
turnaround and sterling weakness is increasingly less
important," said Neil Wilson of ETX Capital.
Britain holds a general election next Thursday that is
likely to have an impact on how the country tackles talks on its
exit from the European Union.
Some opinion polls point to a tighter-than-expected race,
with the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May seeing
its lead over the opposition Labour party dwindling.
Financials were the biggest boost to the FTSE, adding 17
points to the index with top banks HSBC and Barclays
and insurer Prudential all up over 1 percent.
EasyJet rose 0.8 percent after HSBC lifted its
target on the stock, saying the budget carrier could be a
marginal beneficiary from British Airways' power outage.
Analysts at HSBC also said the low-cost airline industry
would continue to improve structurally.
Meanwhile British Airways owner International Consolidated
Airlines rose 1.7 percent.
Acacia Mining topped mid-caps, up 5.6 percent,
after it maintained its full-year production guidance. The stock
has lost a third of its value after a Tanzanian government
investigation report found last month that the miner had
under-declared precious metals in its exports.
An upgrade to 'outperform' from Credit Suisse boosted Kaz
Minerals by 3.5 percent.
"Debt levels are high but, given the strong operational
performance, new debt facilities raised, reduced project capex
and the around $1.1 billion cash buffer, we see limited risk of
a funding gap," said analysts at the Swiss bank.
But B&M European Value Retail fell 2.8 percent
after major shareholders SSA Investments and CD&R sold 125
million shares, or a combined 12.5 percent of the company.
(Reporting by Helen Reid and Danilo Masoni; Editing by Hugh