(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* Metro Bank falls on grim outlook
* Bank stocks gain on Bailey's announcement
* FTSE 100 up 0.5%, FTSE 250 adds 1.2% (Updates to close)
By Shivani Kumaresan and Amal S
Feb 24 (Reuters) - Britain's main stock index recouped early losses to end Wednesday higher, as gains in commodity-linked and banking stocks on investor optimism about a post-pandemic economic recovery outweighed losses in defensive sectors.
After falling as much as 0.8%, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index .FTSE closed up 0.5%, with oil heavyweights BP BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L providing the biggest boost with gains of 5.4% and 3.3%, respectively. O/R
"One of the main drivers for the FTSE over the next few months is going to be investors' interest in a possible commodity super-cycle," said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.
"If commodities continued to perform as strongly as they have over the past few months, well that's going to benefit disproportionately."
British bank Barclays BARC.L jumped 3.4%, while other lenders rose as Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said Britain will resist "very firmly" any European Union attempts to arm-twist banks into shifting trillions of euros in derivatives clearing from Britain to the bloc after Brexit. plays such consumer staples, healthcare and utilities were among the top laggards.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC gained 1.2% and marked its best day over a week, on hopes that speedy vaccination will help ease coronavirus restrictions faster.
In company news, Metro Bank MTRO.L fell 9.9% as it posted a much bigger annual loss and said it expects defaults to rise through the year as government support measures set in place due to the COVID-19 crisis are wound down. goods maker Reckitt Benckiser RB.L shed 1.5% even as it capped 2020 with the strongest sales in its history, while Aviva AV.L slipped 0.5% as it agreed to sell its 40% stake in a joint venture in Turkey for 122 million pounds ($173.2 million).
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