UK markets closed

FTSE 100 enjoys best day since July

By Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M
Traders looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index trading floor

By Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M

(Reuters) - Banks and miners propelled London's FTSE 100 to its best day in more than four months on Friday as optimism around the Sino-U.S. trade talks rose, but recent mixed signals on prospects of a deal still led the index to its worst week in two months.

The main bourse <.FTSE> advanced 1.4% with gains across the board, after slipping to a two-month low in the last session.

The more domestically-focussed FTSE 250 <.FTMC> rose 1.1% and bagged its sixth straight week of gains.

U.S. President Donald Trump's comments that the trade talks were "moving right along" and China's decision to waive imports tariffs for some soybeans and pork from the United States lifted sentiment as a torrid week drew to a close.

Further support came from a robust U.S. jobs report that showed growth increased by the most in 10 months in November, soothing concerns about a slowdown in the world's largest economy.

"Forget Star Wars, this year's Christmas blockbuster is today's non-farm payrolls report," analyst Neil Wilson said.

"A blowout jobs number sent equities higher along with the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields as it shows the U.S. economy is doing better than many corners of the market feared."

Notable blue-chip performers included ad firm WPP <WPP.L> which climbed 3% on plans to return about $1.2 billion to shareholders and Primark owner Associated British Foods <ABF.L> added 2% after it maintained its earnings target.

Luxury brand Burberry <BRBY.L> extended gains on improved trade sentiment and after a report of French group Kering's <PRTP.PA> potential takeover interest in Italy's Moncler <MONC.MI>.

Housebuilders <.FTNMX1770>, sensitive to Brexit jitters due to their domestic exposure, jumped 1.4% after mortgage lender Halifax said house prices rose in November at the fastest annual rate in seven months.

Despite the day's recovery, the FTSE 100 endured its steepest weekly fall in two months, as Trump's indication that a trade deal with China could only come following the 2020 election had knocked nearly 2% off the index on Tuesday.

Sterling's recent rally on optimism that next week's general election in Britain will lead to a Conservative majority and help deliver Brexit has also weighed on the exporter-heavy bourse.

"This time next week the votes will have been counted and we in the UK may finally have an idea on what's going to happen with Brexit and who's going to lead it," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi, Muvija M and Safia Infant in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Bernard Orr)