August 26, 2014 / 2:25 PM / 4 years ago

Financials rally as Britain's FTSE gains ground

* FTSE 100 rises 0.6 pct

* Hopes of ECB policy easing and “QE” lift European stocks

* Antofagasta falls after posting lower H1 profit

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s top equity index rose on Tuesday, boosted by expectations of new economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB), with financial stocks outperforming.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up by 0.6 percent, or 38.93 points, at 6,814.18 points going into the close of the trading day.

The London market was closed on Monday and its gains on Tuesday saw it play catch-up with an advance in Europe during the previous session after ECB President Mario Draghi raised expectations of new stimulus measures, such as quantitative easing (QE), in a speech late on Friday.

Traders said that QE would give boost banks because they can borrow at low rates from the central bank and then lend it 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 McLaren Securities.

However, copper miner Antofagasta missed out on the broad market rally, falling 1.5 percent after it posted an 11.5 percent decline in first-half core profit.

The FTSE 100 hit a peak of 6,894.88 points in mid-May, which marked its highest level since December 1999.

It has since given up much of that ground but some traders said the index looked set for gains in the near term.

The FTSE 100 is up by 4.4 percent from a low hit more than two weeks ago after a sell-off triggered in June by worries over the crisis in Ukraine, where Kiev forces have been fighting pro-Moscow separatists.

“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 Hugh Lawson and David Goodman)

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