March 27, 2018 / 9:03 AM / 4 months ago

Britain's FTSE snaps four-session losing streak

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* FTSE 100 up 1.6 pct, approaches 7,000-point level

* Global trade worries ease, miners rally

* GlaxoSmithKline jumps after agrees to by Novartis’s JV stake

* Spreadbetters drop as ESMA clamps down on CFDs, ‘binary’ options

By Kit Rees

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index rebounded from its lowest level in more than a year on Tuesday as risk assets breathed a sigh of relief on signs that a global trade war could be averted.

The blue chip FTSE 100 was up 1.6 percent at 6,997.15 points by 0853 GMT, with almost every constituent in positive territory, while mid cap shares rose 1 percent.

Risk assets came under pressure last week on the back of worries over escalating global trade tensions after the United States planned tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods, with exposed sectors such as basic resources hit hardest.

However, hopes that tensions could ease were sparked by reports that Chinese and U.S. officials were in negotiations to avert a full-blown trade war.

“Suddenly the whole show is looking a lot like a negotiating tool rather than any serious intention to imitate a trade war,” Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said.

The FTSE 100 has been trading at its lowest levels since December 2016 and has posted losses for the past four sessions in a row. So far the FTSE is down 9 percent in 2018.

“It comes back to more stock-picking, because last year it was difficult to lose out as long as you were holding on to something,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said.

Shares in miners Anglo American and Glencore both rose around 2.3 percent, with the materials sector as a whole adding around 13 points to gains.

GlaxoSmithKline was another top gainer, its shares up 4.3 percent after the pharma firm agreed to buy Novartis’ stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture for $13 billion.

“Given the current low cost of debt financing, as GSK gains full rights to all the earnings of the Consumer division it will gain some earnings accretion,” analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

Earnings were also a driver, with shares in heating and plumbing products supplier Ferguson jumping 5 percent close to a two-month high after the company saw its first-half profit rise thanks to strength in its main U.S. market.

Among smaller stocks the focus was on spreadbetting firms after the European Union financial markets watchdog announced plans to ban ‘binary’ options sales to retail clients and restrict the sales of Contract for Differences (CFDs).

Shares in IG Group dropped 9.6 percent after the online financial trading company warned on its 2019 revenue following the announcement.

Peer CMC Markets fell 2.6 percent, while Plus500 advanced 1 percent.

“The emergence of regulatory clarity should be a positive, given the overhang that has persisted for some time,” analysts at Peel Hunt said in a note. (Reporting by Kit Rees Editing by Peter Graff)

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