June 29, 2018 / 9:15 AM / 23 days ago

Britain's FTSE eyes strongest quarter since 2010

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* FTSE 100 up 0.8 pct

* Pound, oil boost index in Q2

* Cyclicals rally as trade worries ease

By Kit Rees

LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - A rise among commodities stocks and banks lifted the UK’s top share index on Friday as worries over global trade eased, while the index was set for its best quarter in nearly 8 years.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.8 percent at 7,677.39 points by 0903 GMT, while mid caps gained 0.6 percent.

The FTSE joined in a broader rally among European indexes as jitters over global trade, which sparked a sharp sell-off earlier in the week, were quelled as China further eased foreign investment curbs on Thursday.

The FTSE has now made back Monday’s losses. Though the FTSE was set to end June with a modest 0.6 percent gain, the second quarter is on track to be the index’s best since 2010’s third quarter, up nearly 9 percent.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, pointed to a combination of helpful factors such as the pound retreating since a high in April as well as a rise in the oil price.

“The FTSE isn’t UK Plc - there’s so much international exposure,” said Accendo Markets’ van Dulken.

On Friday investors took the opportunity to add back some risk, with shares in cyclical sectors such as materials, energy and financials among the best performers.

Miners Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Antofagasta all rose between 2 percent and 3.8 percent, boosted by a rise among metals prices.

Banks HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds all rose 0.7 to 0.9 percent.

Shares in battered Micro Focus were the biggest gainers, up 5.4 percent though the stock remains down nearly 47 percent so far this year.

Among smaller stocks, shares in chemical maker Elementis slid 9.4 percent to the bottom of the mid cap index after the company said that it would buy talc producer Mondo Minerals for an enterprise value of $600 million.

Stagecoach shares were down 6.7 percent, reversing the previous session’s gain. The transport company cut its dividend on Thursday, which analysts at JPMorgan said was a “prudent” move, though they reduced their target price for the stock. (Reporting by Kit Rees Editing by Peter Graff)

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