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FTSE rises as Reckitt rallies

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's top equity index rose on Monday, extending its recovery from the three-year lows it hit earlier this month, helped by a surge in Reckitt Benckiser RB.L.

A man shelters under an umbrella as he walks past the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The FTSE 100 index .FTSE closed up 116.68 points, or 2 percent, at 5,825.17 points.

Consumer goods group Reckitt rose 6.8 percent, posting its biggest one-day rise since February 2009.

Reckitt posted stronger-than-expected full-year sales, helped by its focus on faster-growing consumer health products.

“These were a phenomenal set of results,” said Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood. “RB blew away consensus on every major metric.”

HSBC HSBA.L also advanced 1.4 percent. HSBC, Prudential Plc PRU.L and Standard Chartered STAN.L benefited from a rise in shares in Hong Kong, where they have major operations. HSBC also said it would keep its business headquarters in Britain.

Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L was up 1.1 percent after it finally sealed the $53 billion acquisition of British rival BG Group on Monday, to form the world's top liquefied natural gas company, even as slumping oil prices cast a shadow on the upcoming years of transition.

Barclays cut its earnings estimates for Shell in 2016, but said that synergies from the deal would boost profits between 2017 and 2019.

The FTSE still remains down by 6.7 percent since the start of 2016 and nearly 20 percent below a record high reached in April 2015, in spite of a rebound over the last two sessions.

World stock markets have been hit since the start of 2016 by signs of a slowdown in China, the world’s second-biggest economy. China reported on Monday its January trade performance came in worse than expected as tepid demand persisted.

However, some traders took reassurance from comments by China’s central bank governor that there was no basis for a continued depreciation in the yuan. Declines in the currency had rocked global markets last month and last August.

“The trade numbers are particularly disappointing, as we had started to see some recovery and we expected it to continue on the basis of the CNY’s depreciation,” said Guy Foster, head of research at Brewin Dolphin.

“Nevertheless, markets are in good spirit, partly because of reassuring comments from the PBoC that the depreciation may have largely run its course.”

Precious metals mining companies Randgold RRS.L and Fresnillo FRES.L dropped as gold fell more than 2 percent. The rebound in stocks suggested more appetite for risk, pulling gold prices down from last week's one-year high.

Additional reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Toby Chopra

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