* FTSE 100 closes up 0.7 pct at 6,822.76 points
* FTSE ends at highest closing level since early July
* Hopes of ECB policy easing and QE lift European stocks
* Antofagasta falls after posting lower H1 profit
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Aug 26 Britain's top equity index rose
on Tuesday, with financial stocks outperforming, amid
expectations of new economic stimulus measures from the European
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up by 0.7
percent, or 47.51 points, at 6,822.76 points - its highest
closing level since early July.
The London market was closed on Monday, so it spent Tuesday
catching up with advances in Europe the day before. The rally
was ignited by ECB President Mario Draghi, who raised
expectations of new stimulus measures, such as quantitative
easing, in a speech late on Friday.
Traders said that QE would boost banks because they can
borrow at low rates from the central bank and then lend the
money on at a slightly higher rate for a profit.
"If QE is on the way in Europe, it should help stock markets
across the board," said Terry Torrison, managing director at
Copper miner Antofagasta missed out on the rally,
falling 1.2 percent after it posted an 11.5 percent decline in
first-half core profit.
The FTSE 100 peaked at 6,894.88 points in mid-May, its
highest since December 1999. It has since given up much of those
gains, but some traders said it looked set to rise soon. The
FTSE 100 is up by 4.5 percent from a low hit more than two weeks
ago after a sell-off triggered by conflict in Ukraine.
"The broader technical picture is now implying that upward
momentum is such that further near-term gains have become a
realistic expectation," said Bill McNamara, technical analyst at
brokerage Charles Stanley.
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Larry King)