FTSE gets sterling boost as earnings shuffle into view

FTSE gets sterling boost as earnings shuffle into view
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By Kit Rees

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's leading share index rose on Friday, buoyed by a weaker pound which slipped after U.S. President Donald Trump threw cold water on a hopes for a U.S. trade deal.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.6 percent at 7,697.20 points by 0845 GMT, while mid caps also gained 0.6 percent.

President Trump directly criticised Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy, saying her proposals had probably killed off hope of a U.S. trade deal and that she had failed to take his advice on how to negotiate with the European Union.

Sterling fell, which helped the FTSE's dollar-earnings constituents such as consumers stocks Diageo, British American Tobacco and Unilever push higher.

"We've got that split again where the FTSE is not necessarily rallying on massive confidence and risk appetite but ... more to do with sterling weakness that anything else," said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

"But the resilience is still there."

Worries over global trade have kept the FTSE trading in a narrow range throughout June and into July, as investors have weighed the implications for global growth and equity markets of the tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by the U.S. and China.

However this week, the FTSE is on track for its biggest gain in one month.

While the corporate earnings season is yet to get properly under way in Europe, a few British companies saw their shares move on the back of updates.

DCC was a top gainer, up around 3 percent after the support services company's first quarter trading update, in which it reaffirmed its full year guidance.

Analysts at Davy said that the highlight of DCC's statement was the acquisitions in the U.S. and UK made by its technology operating segment.

"The highlight of today's Q1 release is DCC Technology's acquisitions of Stampede and Kondor, both in attractive growth areas and the former representing the division’s first move into the U.S. and Canadian markets," Davy Research analysts said in a note.

On the mid cap index shares in UK recruiter Hays were the biggest risers with a gain of more than 5 percent.

Investors were cheered after Hays said that it expected its full-year operating profit to exceed market expectations, with analysts at Jefferies noting that the company was also on track for a special dividend.

(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Keith Weir)

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