UPDATE 1-Trade hopes buoy FTSE 100; Mothercare dives
London's FTSE 100 joined a global stocks rally on Monday driven by rising hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal, while retailer Mothercare sank to a record low after saying it intends to appoint administrators for its UK operations. The FTSE 100 added 0.5% as Asia-focussed banks HSBC and Standard Chartered as well as miners including Rio Tinto gained after Washington and Beijing signaled they had made progress in trade talks.
"Of course, we've had plenty of warm words before that have delivered very little but things seem to finally be moving," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said. A sub-index of miners jumped more than 2% to a more than six-week high as its components benefited from a surge in aluminum prices on worries of a supply shortage.
The mid-cap FTSE 250, coming off two straight months of gains, advanced 0.3%. Struggling baby products retailer Mothercare, which has shut a third of its British stores in the past year due to intense competition from supermarkets and online retailers and has lost nearly half its share value this year, sank another 23%.
Insurer Hiscox underperformed the main index, however, dipping 2% as reserves it set aside for claims related to hurricane Dorian and typhoons Hagibis and Faxai were significantly higher than its catastrophe budget for the second half. Shares of mid-cap airlines EasyJet and Wizz Air rose 1.5% each after Ryanair's first-half profit beat consensus, though the Irish carrier announced a further delay to the start of its Boeing MAX 737 deliveries.
Separately, British Airways-owner IAG climbed 2% after agreeing to buy Spanish carrier Air Europa, bolstering connectivity over its Latin America and Caribbean routes through Madrid. "At this stage, while we see the strategic logic in the deal, the risk of competition authorities intervening is not immaterial," Liberum analysts warned.
Small-cap Woodford Patient Capital Trust slid 6.3% after the administrator to funds of beleaguered money manager Neil Woodford said it would amend valuations of two of the company's holdings.
Also Read: Trade hopes buoy FTSE; Mothercare dives 38%
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