UPDATE 2-Banks lift FTSE 100 as trade optimism reigns; Ted Baker rallies

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-Banks lift FTSE 100 as trade optimism reigns; Ted Baker rallies
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct

* FTSE 250 up 0.1 pct

* Banks top boosts to FTSE 100

* IAG drops on weak free cash flow forecast

* Ted Baker gains as CEO Ray Kelvin quits

* Synthomer slips on mid-caps (Adds news item, analyst comment, updates to closing prices)

By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi

March 4 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 rose on Monday as financial firms gained on reports China and the United States were nearing a trade deal, a stronger dollar helped exporter stocks, while clothing retailer Ted Baker advanced after CEO Ray Kelvin's resignation.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE ended 0.4 percent higher and the FTSE 250 .FTMC closed 0.1 percent higher and clung to its four-month high hit in the last session.

Financial stocks .FTNMX8350 gained after the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could reach a formal trade deal at a summit around March 27, raising hopes of an end to the protracted dispute. all this positivity comes the risk that the market is buying on this rumour mill and is becoming more exposed should the good news not materialise. March could well come in like a lion and go out like a lamb," said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell suggested investors were wary of the latest update on trade talks, adding they were "perhaps sick of speculation and rather more keen to see some actual action."

Data showed activity in Britain's construction industry fell for the first time in almost a year last month amid Brexit uncertainty and a slowdown in the housing market. softened sterling and helped dollar earners such as AstraZeneca AZN.L and spirits company Diageo DGE.L to be among the top boosts to the main bourse.

Property website operator Rightmove RMV.L also jumped 5.1 percent on its best day in more than two-and-a-half years after bullish comments from JP Morgan.

British Airways owner IAG ICAG.L dropped 4.8 percent on its worst day in more than a year after it forecast 2019 free cash flow to be lower than last year. Baker TED.L , which slumped 5 percent in early deals, recovered to add 4.8 percent as Ray Kelvin, the retailer's founder and top boss, quit following allegations of misconduct relating to his habit of hugging business colleagues. Baker has grown steadily and has become a global brand and we do not see any change to the Group's long-term prospects," Liberum analysts wrote.

Daily Mail and General Trust DMGOa.L rose 4.5 percent, its biggest intraday gain since late June, after plans to return all its shares in Euromoney Institutional Investor ERM.L and 200 million pounds in cash to eligible shareholders.

Euromoney shares shed 4.6 percent.

Speciality chemical company Synthomer SYNTS.L slipped 8.1 percent on the mid-caps after its full-year report, but losses were largely offset as drugmaker Indivior INDV.L surged 7.5 percent in a no-news move.

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