LONDON Britain's top share index rallied to close near a record high on Monday, with commodities-related stocks surging on the back of strong crude oil and major industrial metals prices.
The UK oil and gas index .FTNMX0530 rose 2.3 percent, making it the top sectoral gainer, as oil prices climbed to their highest level in a year after Russia said it was ready to join a proposed deal to cap oil production. [O/R]
Basic resources stocks were also in demand, with the FTSE 350 mining index .FTNMX1770 gaining 2.1 percent as prices of copper CMCU3, nickel CMNI3 and aluminium CMAL3 rose between 0.8 percent and 2.6 percent.
"Continuing the by now-familiar pattern, international earners are topping the FTSE 100," Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst Nicholas Hyett said.
Shares in oil majors Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and BP (BP.L) and miners Anglo American (AAL.L), BHP Billiton (BLT.L), Antofagasta (ANTO.L), Rio Tinto (RIO.L) and Glencore (GLEN.L) rose between 2.0 percent and 2.8 percent.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE closed 0.8 percent higher at 7,097.50 points, not far from a record 7,122.74 set in April last year.
The benchmark index, up nearly 23 percent from a post-Brexit sell-off in sterling terms, posted a gain of 2.1 percent last week, helped by a plunging pound that helped the index's international, dollar-earning firms as well as exporters. However, it is up only 13.5 percent in dollar terms.
Housing-related stocks, however, were firmly at the bottom of the FTSE scoreboard, with traders citing last week's weak Halifax house price numbers as well as the prospect of a U.S. rate hike by the end of this year.
Travis Perkins (TPK.L), down nearly 30 percent this year, has not managed to climb back to pre-Brexit levels, and closed 2.6 percent lower. Persimmon (PSN.L) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) fell 3 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.
Ratings downgrades sent easyJet (EZJ.L) shares down 2.3 percent after target price cuts from Liberum and Societe Generale. The latter also cut its rating on the stock to "sell".
The budget airline issued a profit warning last week, hit by security concerns and foreign exchange problems.
(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Louise Ireland)