June 17, 2016 / 8:40 AM / 4 years ago

FTSE rebounds from four-month low after EU campaign suspended

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index rose from a four-month low on Friday, as stocks that have been hardest hit by concerns over a possible British exit from the EU rebounded after campaigning was suspended following the killing of a British lawmaker.

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 .FTSE rose 70.61 points, or 1.2 percent, to 6,021.09 points. It remained down 1.5 percent for the week and posted its third straight week of falls.

Banks were among the top gainers, with Lloyds (LLOY.L), Standard Chartered (STAN.L), Barclays (BARC.L), and RBS (RBS.L) up 3.7 percent to 6 percent.

The sector had dropped to a two-month low on Thursday after polls showed momentum was shifting in favor of the campaign to leave the European Union in next week’s referendum.

However, campaign activities were halted late on Thursday, with Britain’s politicians and public left in shock after a pro-EU lawmaker was fatally shot in the street.

One poll set for publication on Friday was delayed until the weekend, and traders said the focus had shifted away from the campaign in light of the attack. The probability that Britain would vote to stay in the EU also increased, bookmaker odds showed.

Investors saw the pause in referendum activity as a chance to buy recently sold stocks, as well as commodity shares, which were boosted by a rising oil price.

“With Brent crude now back approaching $48 per barrel... it seems that the UK index may have found its trading bracket for the next week, with it struggling to push significantly above 6000 but failing to fall too far below 5900,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex.

“Of course, as those pre-referendum fears really ramp up next week that could change.”

Energy shares contributed around 12 points to the FTSE 100’s rise, as Brent crude rose for the first time in over a week.

Among the top fallers, National Grid (NG.L) retreated 0.3 percent after a bearish broker note from Credit Suisse, which cut its price target on the stock, and a call from British lawmakers for an independent operator to take over the company’s role running the country’s energy transmission network.

“Shareholders will be hoping that the shape of the company will not affect their payout, but the uncertainty could mean that the firm becomes less attractive versus other high-dividend paying names,” Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, said in a note.

Precious metal miners Randgold Resources RRS.L Fresnillo (FRES.L) also fell. They had been among the main beneficiaries of the “risk-off” sentiment that had characterized most of the trading week.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by John Stonestreet and Keith Weir

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