UPDATE 2-Hopes May will win no-confidence vote lift British stocks

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-Hopes May will win no-confidence vote lift British stocks
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSE 100 up 1.1 pct; FTSE 250 up 1.9 pct

* Market sees PM May defeating leadership challenge

* Brexit-sensitive housebuilders rise

* Trump's conciliatory trade talk boosts markets

* Superdry sinks 38 pct on profit warning (Updates prices, adds details, graphic)

By Josephine Mason and Helen Reid

LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - British stocks rose on Wednesday as investors welcomed conciliatory talk from U.S. President Trump on trade and became more convinced Prime Minister Theresa May would see off a leadership challenge and win a no-confidence vote.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE ended the day up 1.1 percent as financials and materials stocks rallied.

Heavyweight lender HSBC HSBA.L , which makes a big chunk of its revenue in China, was the biggest contributor to gains followed by BHP and Glencore , boosted by higher metals prices.

The more domestically-focused midcap index .FTMC climbed 1.9 percent after May said she would fight the no-confidence vote and a growing majority of Conservative lawmakers indicated support for her ahead of the vote between 1800 and 2000 GMT. don't think we can bet on who will win," said Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays (LON: BARC ).

"I think it's about the market's interpretation of the capacity of the person in charge to get a deal, and about the timing left to get a deal done."

Sterling surged up 1.3 percent, suggesting traders reckon she will win the vote which could quash hard Brexiteers for good. The rise in sterling and FTSE 100 together indicated that an inverse relationship between the two was weakening.

Ireland's main stock index .ISEQ , which has fallen 22 percent so far this year, was the only major European bourse in the red by mid-morning, but recovered to close up 0.6 percent.

Ireland's economy is seen as very vulnerable to any hard Brexit outcome.

FTSE investors focused instead on positive signs from the protracted U.S.-China trade war.

In an interview with Reuters, Trump said talks were taking place with Beijing by phone and he would not raise tariffs on Chinese imports until he knew whether the two sides would reach a deal. global issues are dominating local issues (today). The positive comments from Trump on Huawei, better U.S.-China trade situation are dwarfing the local issues," said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

Trump said he would intervene in the Justice Department's case against a top executive at China's Huawei Technologies HWT.UL if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China. stocks BHP Group BHPB.L , Glencore GLEN.L , and Rio Tinto RIO.L climbed as base metals rallied following Trump's comments. fallers, Wood Group WG.L lost 10.2 percent to its lowest since May. Its cautious outlook on contracts, as oil-producing clients struggle with volatile prices, outweighed an upbeat earnings outlook. SBRY.L shares also tumbled 7.2 percent after the Competition and Markets Authority refused to give the group longer to respond to the latest evidence in an inquiry into its 7.3 billion pound deal to merge with Asda. shares recovered from early losses as the market became more confident May would see off the challenge.

The Brexit-sensitive stocks were among top gainers by the close, with Persimmon PSN.L , Taylor Wimpey TW.L , Berkeley Group BKGH.L and Barratt Development BDEV.L up 3.6 to 5.7 percent.

Mid-cap housebuilders Bellway BWY.L , Galliford Try GFRD.L , and Crest Nicholson CRST.L climbed 4.5 to 6.8 percent.

High-street retailer Next NXT.L was down 1.1 percent to its lowest since January, as disappointing news from clothes retailer Superdry SDRY.L and phone and electronics chain Dixons Carphone DC.L further dented confidence in the battered retail sector. plunged 38 percent after its third profit warning in a year, blaming unusually warm weather hitting sales of winter jackets and sweaters. have been caught up in the middle of a strategy disagreement," Stifel analysts said in a note. "Valuation will suffer from short term volatility and the time it will take to turn around the business."

Dixons shares fell 6 percent, while Metro Bank MTRO.L lost 5.7 percent after a Citi downgrade.

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