UPDATE 1-Britain's FTSE heads higher as miners recover

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 1-Britain's FTSE heads higher as miners recover
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSE 100 up 0.8 pct

* News of fresh U.S.-China talks boosts stocks, miners recover

* Subdued pound supports dollar-earners

* Kingfisher falls after Q2 trading update (Adds closing prices)

By Kit Rees

LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The UK's top share index edged higher on Thursday, led by a strong rise in beaten-down mining stocks as news of fresh U.S.-China trade talks lifted sentiment across markets and sectors.

The blue chip FTSE 100 .FTSE closed up 0.8 percent at 7,556.38 points while mid caps .FTMC rose 0.7 percent.

Anxiety over a currency crisis in Turkey has rattled markets over the past week, though positive developments in the U.S.-China trade dispute calmed nerves on Thursday with broader European markets also ending the day in positive territory.

China's commerce ministry said a fresh round of trade talks will be held with the U.S. in August, boosting base metals prices and in turn lifting shares in heavyweight UK miners.

"Investors will be very relieved there isn't a continuation of yesterday's market slump," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.

Shares in Antofagasta ANTO.L , Glencore GLEN.L , Fresnillo FRES.L , Rio Tinto RIO.L and BHP Billiton BLT.L all rose between 0.9 and 2.5 percent.

The FTSE 350 mining index .FTNMX1770 bounced back 1.3 percent, having dropped almost 5 percent in the previous session to a four-month low.

Big, dollar-earning consumer staples stocks also gave a boost to the index as sterling traded close to 2018 lows, though the currency was modestly higher on the day. Shares in British American Tobacco (JO: SNHJ ) BATS.L , Imperial Brands IMB.L and Unilever ULVR.L were all strongly in positive territory.

Oil majors and FTSE heavyweights BP BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L also added points to the index, rising 0.6 percent and 1 percent respectively.

Elsewhere it was a heavy day for stocks trading ex-dividend, with Evraz EVRE.L , Legal & General LGEN.L and Lloyds LLOY.L among the biggest fallers.

Shares in Kingfisher KGF.L were down 4.8 percent after Europe's second-largest home improvement retailer said sales rose thanks to prolonged warm weather, but a weak performance at French business Castorama clouded its outlook. longer-term picture for Kingfisher is tough, with a slowing housing market and few (home) movers affecting sales at its stores," Ed Monk, associate director at Fidelity Personal Investing's share dealing service, said.

Results were also in focus among mid-cap stocks. Shares in online travel agent On The Beach OTB.L jumped more than 15 percent after a trading update, while a half-year earnings report helped Kaz Minerals KAZ.L shares gain 2.3 percent.

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