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FTSE 100 logs strongest day in over two weeks on commodity-linked boost

Shivani Kumaresan and Amal S
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain

By Shivani Kumaresan and Amal S

(Reuters) - Mining and oil stocks helped London's FTSE 100 index end a subdued week on a positive note on Friday, and higher February retail sales underpinned optimism over a swifter global economic recovery.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended 1% higher and marked its best session in over two weeks, with mining stocks including Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore and BHP gaining between 3.4% and 5.3%.[MET/L]

Oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also among the biggest boosts, as oil prices jumped over 4%.[O/R]

"I don't think investors are looking at anything other than single stocks scenarios, and you can tell by today's market action there's not a lot of real conviction out there apart from the metal- and oil-related," said Keith Temperton, an equity sales trader at Forte Securities.

The FTSE 100 has rebounded more than 36% from a coronavirus-driven crash last year, but the pace of gains has slowed recently amid concerns over renewed coronavirus lockdowns in Europe denting a swifter economic recovery.

British retail sales rose in February, helped in part by consumers buying outdoor furniture ahead of a partial relaxing of coronavirus restrictions which will allow people to meet in gardens from next week.

Meanwhile, Bank of England's policymakers Michael Saunders said Britain's economy may have more room to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic before it generates excess inflation than the bank predicted last month.

Smiths Group rose 6.9%, topping the index, after the engineering firm issued upbeat forecast for the second half of the fiscal year and reported better-than-expected interim profit.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index climbed 1%, led by industrials stocks.

Copper miner Kaz Minerals Plc gained 2.9%, after receiving a final bid worth 4.02 billion pounds ($5.53 billion) from its chairman-led Nova Resources.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Hugh Lawson)