UK markets closed

Primark owner, oil majors push FTSE higher

By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi
Traders sit at their desks at IG Index in London

By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi

(Reuters) - Gains for oil majors and miners pushed London's FTSE 100 into the black on Tuesday, buoyed by hopes of a trade deal between the United States and China, while Primark owner Associated British Foods <ABF.L> jumped 6% after strong results.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> advanced 0.3%, after having touched a one-month high earlier in the session, while the mid-cap index <.FTMC> was 0.2% higher.

A.B.Foods <ABF.L> recorded its best one-day spike in more than 10 months after it posted higher annual earnings and said it was well-positioned for further earnings growth in the new year.

A Reuters report that Beijing is pushing U.S. President Donald Trump to remove more tariffs imposed in September as part of a "phase one" U.S.-China trade deal lifted prospects for a resolution of the protracted dispute.

Oil majors Shell <RDSa.L> and BP <BP.L>, which fell last week after reporting falls in profit, gennerated the biggest boost to the main index, rising about 1% each.

Miners, one of the sectors most exposed to trade tensions due to their dependence on Chinese demand, <.FTNMX1770> reached a near 2-month high, also helped by a rise in copper prices partially driven by a cut in forecasts by Chilean-focused Antofagasta <ANTO.L>.

"Fresh positive geopolitical stimuli have appeared, turning the dial on risk appetite even higher. At the same time.... quantitative gauges suggesting risk assets are becoming 'overbought' are piling up too," Cityindex analyst Ken Odeluga said.

A mixed set of results pushed tobacco company Imperial Brands <IMB.L> slightly higher after a volatile morning.

While sales for the year topped market expectations, the tobacco firm guided to low-single digit revenue and profit growth for the year amid a regulatory crackdown on vaping in the United States.

Among mid-caps, gambling and related firms fell for a second straight day after lawmakers called for a raft of measures to overhaul online casinos. Rank Group <RNK.L>, William Hill <WMH.L> and Playtech <PTEC.L> lost between 0.3%-8%.

News of a cyber attack at marine services provider James Fisher and Sons <FSJ.L> dragged its stock nearly 6% to be among steepest fallers on the FTSE 250 index.

Defence company Cobham, which has agreed to a $5 billion deal with U.S. private equity firm Advent, was the biggest drag on the index with a 2% fall as regulators at home continue to scrutinise the merger.

Metro Bank <MTRO.L>, whose stock price has plummeted since an accounting mistake, surged 12.2% with a trader citing an Evening Standard report a few days ago about a possible takeover by Lloyds.

Graphic: Stock performance of ABF and peers YTD -

(Reporting by Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Mark Heinrich)