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FTSE up 2.9 pct early on Chinese stimulus package

* FTSE 100 up 2.9 pct

* Soaring commodity prices lift energy, mining stocks

* Stocks broadly higher as Chinese stimulus package supports

(Please click on [nCRISIS] for more on financial turmoil)

By Simon Falush

LONDON, NOV 10 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index climbed 2.9 percent early on Monday, as a near-$600 billion economic stimulus package from China slightly brightened a gloomy demand outlook and lifted energy and mining stocks.

By 0853 GMT the FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 126.59 points at 4,491.55 having closed up 2.2 percent on Friday.

Beijing announced plans on Sunday to re-engineer growth, shifting the economy’s focus away from struggling export markets to the domestic economy, promising to spend 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) on infrastructure and social services.

The stimulus package helped boost commodity prices, lifting energy and mining stocks.

Lonmin LMI.L gained 10.4 percent, Anglo American AAL.L climbed 11.3 percent and Xstrata XTA.L surged 14 percent while BHP Billiton BLT.L added 12.1 percent.

“The main driver has been the Chinese stimulus package as there has been a lot of concern that the global recession would be worsened by slowing Chinese GDP growth,” said Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“(The stimulus package) is having an impact on mining stocks on the demand story, but stocks are up pretty much across the board.”

Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L, BP BP.L and Cairn Energy CNE.L gained between 3.6 and 6.4 percent.

The Chinese news helped shift attention away from jobs data that showed small and medium-sized manufacturers in Britain have cut staff for the first time in 18 months and more than a quarter plan to reduce headcount further.

The Daily Telegraph said middle-income families and small businesses will receive billions of pounds of tax cuts and benefits in the Pre-Budget report within the next two weeks.

More evidence on the parlous state of the UK economy came from a survey showing that Britain’s shoppers will spend 15 percent more online in the run up to Christmas this year, a sharp slowdown in growth when compared with the 54 percent increase seen in 2007. [ID:nL7189003]

Retailers held up relatively well, with Marks & Spencer MKS.L gaining 3.1 percent and Next NXT.L up 2.6 percent. Supermarkets were also in positive territory with Tesco TSCO.L up 1 percent and Sainsbury SBRY.L climbing 3.8 percent.

AstraZeneca AZN.L gained 2.7 percent after a study showed its cholesterol drug Crestor reduced deaths, heart attacks, strokes and artery-clearing procedures in apparently healthy patients and could prompt change to preventative care guidelines.

However, embattled banks were in broadly negative territory. Lloyds LLOY.L fell 0.6 percent after a Times report that Standard Life STAN.L a leading shareholder in HBOS HBOS.L and Lloyds said it was looking at a proposal by two Scottish grandees to derail the 12 billion pound merger of the two lenders.

HSBC HSBA.L fell 1.9 percent after it said pretax profit for the nine months ended Sept. 30 was lower than a year earlier.

London Stock Exchange LSE.L, underperformed the wider market, gaining just 0.3 percent, after rival Turqoise, backed by nine dealer brokers, said late last week that it now accounts for 5.2 percent of trading for FTSE 100 stocks. [ID:nL749363] (Editing by Chris Wickham)

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