UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 logs strongest day in over two weeks on commodity-linked boost
(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* Miners biggest gainers on FTSE 100
* UK retail sales rise 2.1% in February
* Smiths Group tops index on upbeat forecast
* Both FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 up 1% (Updates to close)
By Shivani Kumaresan and Amal S
March 26 (Reuters) - Mining and oil stocks helped London's FTSE 100 index end a subdued week on a positive note on Friday, and higher February retail sales underpinned optimism over a swifter global economic recovery.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE ended 1% higher and marked its best session in over two weeks, with mining stocks including Rio Tinto RIO.L , Anglo American (JO: AMSJ ) AAL.L , Glencore GLEN.L and BHP BHPB.L gaining between 3.4% and 5.3%. MET/L
Oil heavyweights BP BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L were also among the biggest boosts, as oil prices jumped over 4%. O/R
"I don't think investors are looking at anything other than single stocks scenarios, and you can tell by today's market action there's not a lot of real conviction out there apart from the metal- and oil-related," said Keith Temperton, an equity sales trader at Forte Securities.
The FTSE 100 has rebounded more than 36% from a coronavirus-driven crash last year, but the pace of gains has slowed recently amid concerns over renewed coronavirus lockdowns in Europe denting a swifter economic recovery.
British retail sales rose in February, helped in part by consumers buying outdoor furniture ahead of a partial relaxing of coronavirus restrictions which will allow people to meet in gardens from next week. Bank of England's policymakers Michael Saunders said Britain's economy may have more room to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic before it generates excess inflation than the bank predicted last month. Group SMIN.L rose 6.9%, topping the index, after the engineering firm issued upbeat forecast for the second half of the fiscal year and reported better-than-expected interim profit. domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC climbed 1%, led by industrials stocks.
Copper miner Kaz Minerals Plc KAZ.L gained 2.9%, after receiving a final bid worth 4.02 billion pounds ($5.53 billion) from its chairman-led Nova Resources.
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