November 7, 2018 / 10:59 AM / 13 days ago

FTSE joins U.S. midterm rally despite ITV, M&S misses

LONDON (Reuters) - UK shares joined a post-U.S. midterms rally with strong gains across sectors despite disappointing trading updates from retailer Marks & Spencer and commercial broadcaster ITV.

People walk past the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

The FTSE 100 .FTSE top share index was up 1.1 percent at 1035 GMT, rising broadly at the same pace as other key benchmarks such as the pan-European STOXX 600 or the Euro Stoxx .STOXXE.

Fresh optimism on Brexit talks lifted the pound between 0.4 and 0.5 percent most of the session but the stronger currency, which can act as an accounting drag on British blue chips, was not preventing stocks from rising.

The dollar declined, boosting demand for metals and shares in London-listed miners, after the Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Fresnillo (FRES.L), Anglo American (AAL.L), Antofagasta (ANTO.L) and BHP Billiton (BLT.L) were up 3.6 percent, 1 percent, and 1.5 percent respectively.

Among the fallers, ITV (ITV.L) posted the worst performance, down 2.7 percent. The broadcaster said an increasingly uncertain economic outlook would take its toll on revenues in the last three months of the year, blunting the impact of a slightly better than expected performance over the year so far.

Sales at Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) fell in the first half of its financial year, with demand for clothing and food hit by disruption from the latest attempt to reinvent Britain’s most famous retailer.

Its shares gradually limited their losses to 0.5 percent.

Sophos Group (SOPH.L) sank and lost 29 percent of its market value after the cyber security company cut its billings forecast and posted lower-than-expected billings numbers in the first half.

Shares in Britain’s G4S (GFS.L) tumbled more than 17 percent after the world’s biggest security firm said profit would not grow this year. Pub operator JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L) was another big loser and fell 13 percent with rising wages hitting results.

Shares in Britain’s second-biggest house-builder Persimmon (PSN.L) rose 0.5 percent after it said its boss would resign after criticism over his multi-million pound bonus scheme.

Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alexandra Hudson

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