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Banks and miners cement FTSE 100 rally while Just Eat wilts

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Banks and miners cement FTSE 100 rally while Just Eat wilts
FILE PHOTO: A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)
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By Helen Reid

LONDON (Reuters) – Miners and banks drove Britain’s top share index to a fresh two-week high on Friday, while Just Eat tumbled as Uber’s reported advances to Deliveroo triggered fears of rising competition in the food delivery industry.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was up 0.9 percent by 0820 GMT, climbing in line with European benchmarks as investors piled into stocks in relief that U.S.-China tariffs were less high than feared.

Investors also believed the impact on global growth would be muted, save for a slight increase in inflation – which is a negative for bond markets but a positive for equity markets.

A disappointing outcome for Prime Minister Theresa May from a meeting with EU officials in Salzburg on Thursday night weighed on sterling, helping support the exporter-heavy FTSE 100.

“The near term path of UK stocks and sterling is highly dependent on the Brexit newsflow and as a result we maintain an underweight position to both, instead favouring themes and geographies with more economic certainty,” said Edward Park, investment director at Brooks Macdonald.

A rare faller in a strong market, food delivery company Just Eat <JE.L> tumbled as much as 7.5 percent after a report that Uber was in early talks to acquire its rival Deliveroo.

“Uber’s deep pockets combined with an acquisition puts a lot of competitive pressure on the other food delivery companies over the medium term,” said Brooks Macdonald’s Park.

Overall, banks were the top drivers of FTSE 100 gains.

Heavyweight banking stock HSBC <HSBA.L> was the biggest boost to the index, up 1.3 percent, boosted by a spike in the Hong Kong dollar overnight caused by expectations of a rise in bank lending rates and tightness in cash supplies.

Standard Chartered <STAN.L>, which also has significant exposure to Asia, also gained 1.8 percent, among top FTSE risers.

Mining stocks Glencore <GLEN.L>, Anglo American <AAL.L>, Rio Tinto <RIO.L>, BHP Billiton <BLT.L>, rose 2 to 3 percent as metals prices added to this week’s gains.

Copper hit its highest in six weeks and was set for its biggest weekly climb in 15 weeks as investors expected trade tariffs to have less impact on global growth than some had feared.

Shares in industrial group Smiths <SMIN.L> fell 7.4 percent, the top FTSE 100 fallers.

Smiths reported full-year profit which missed analysts’ estimates due to short-term problems at its medical unit due to the loss of some product certifications under new European regulations.

With few companies reporting earnings, broker notes also moved some stocks.

Burberry <BRBY.L> shares fell 1.2 percent after Credit Suisse cut the stock to “neutral” from “outperform”.

“After a year of changes the stock is lacking near-term catalysts,” analysts at the Swiss bank wrote.

(Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by)

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