UK's FTSE ends losses as Russia backs away from Ukraine

Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:55am EDT

* FTSE 100 up 0.7 pct, bounces off oversold level

* Investors relieved as Russia pulls back troops

* Sentiment remains fragile amid geopolitical worries

* Synthomer tops FTSE 350 risers after dividend hike

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - British shares snapped a three-day losing streak on Monday after Russia said it would pull troops back from near the Ukrainian border, which investors took to mean a confrontation between Moscow and Kiev was less likely.

Late on Friday, Moscow's Defence Ministry said it had ended military exercises in southern Russia, which the United States had criticised as "provocative".

Fears that Russia could invade eastern Ukraine and tit-for-tat sanctions between Moscow and the European Union have weighed on stock markets over the past month. That compounded worries about conflict in the Middle East, weak European economic data and the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary policy.

"It's very early to start celebrating and you've still got the negative effects of the sanctions, which are likely to filter through over the coming months," Michael Hewson chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said.

"But anything that ratchets down the tension is always going to be an opportunity to take profit on the shorts and maybe (do) a little bit of bargain hunting."

The FTSE 100 was up 47.35 points, or 0.7 percent, at 6,614.71 points by 1027 GMT, bouncing from oversold territory after a 3.3 percent fall over the previous two weeks. Trading volume, however, stood at only around a quarter of the 90-day daily average.

The broader FTSE 350 index, which also includes small caps, was up 0.8 percent. It had fallen for three straight sessions as well.

Mid-cap chemical firm Synthomer was the top riser on the FTSE 350, up 8.1 percent, as it increased its interim dividend to 3 pence from 2.4 pence a year earlier.

"One positive in the announcement is confirmation of a more generous dividend policy," analysts at N+1 Singer wrote in a note. "A special (dividend) would also be considered if the Group ends up with surplus cash, which it is likely to given the current land disposal process in Malaysia."

(Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Larry King)

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