June 29, 2018 / 9:15 AM / 5 months ago

FTSE eyes strongest quarter since 2013

LONDON (Reuters) - Rises among miners and banks lifted Britain’s top share index on Friday as worries over global trade eased, while the index enjoyed its best quarter in five years.

A man walks through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The blue chip FTSE 100 .FTSE index ended the session up 0.3 percent at 7,636.93 points, while mid caps .FTMC gained 0.7 percent.

The FTSE joined in a broader rally among European indexes as jitters over global trade, which sparked a sharp sell-off earlier in the week, were quelled as China further eased foreign investment curbs on Thursday.

The FTSE didn’t quite manage to make back Monday’s losses, however. Though the FTSE ended June with a modest 0.5 percent loss, the second quarter shaped up to be the index’s best since 2013’s first quarter, up over 8 percent.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, pointed to a combination of helpful factors such as the pound retreating since a high in April as well as a rise in the oil price.

“The FTSE isn’t UK Plc - there’s so much international exposure,” said Accendo Markets’ van Dulken.

On Friday investors took the opportunity to add back some risk, with shares in cyclical sectors such as materials and financials among the best performers.

Miners Anglo American (AAL.L), BHP Billiton (BLT.L) and Antofagasta (ANTO.L) all rose between 0.9 percent and 3.6 percent, boosted by a rise among metals prices.

Banks HSBC (HSBA.L) and Lloyds (LLOY.L) rose 0.1 and 0.8 percent respectively.

Shares in battered Micro Focus (MCRO.L) were the biggest gainers, up nearly 4 percent though the stock remains down around 47 percent so far this year.

Among smaller stocks, shares in chemical maker Elementis (ELM.L) slid nearly 11 percent to the bottom of the mid cap index after the company said that it would buy talc producer Mondo Minerals for an enterprise value of $600 million.

Stagecoach (SGC.L) shares had a volatile session, down as much as 7.8 percent before ending 1.2 percent higher. The transport company cut its dividend on Thursday, which analysts at JPMorgan said was a “prudent” move, though they reduced their target price for the stock.

Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Toby Chopra

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