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FTSE joins U.S. midterm rally despite ITV, M&S misses

FTSE joins U.S. midterm rally despite ITV, M&S misses
People walk past the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls   -   Copyright  PETER NICHOLLS(Reuters)
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By Julien Ponthus

LONDON (Reuters) – UK shares joined a post-U.S. midterms rally with strong gains across sectors despite disappointing trading updates from retailer Marks & Spencer and commercial broadcaster ITV.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> top share index was up 1.2 percent at 1035 GMT, rising broadly at the same pace at other key benchmarks such as the pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX>.

Fresh optimism on Brexit talks was lifting the pound 0.5 percent but the currency, which can act as an accounting drag on British blue chips, was not preventing stocks from rising.

The dollar declined, boosting demand for metals and shares in London-listed miners, after the Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Fresnillo <FRES.L>, Anglo American <AAL.L>, Antofagasta <ANTO.L> and BHP Billiton <BLT.L> were up 4 percent, 3.2 percent, 3 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.

FTSE Heavyweights BP <BP.L> and Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> also helped lift the index, up 2 percent and 1.8 percent.

Among the fallers, ITV <ITV.L> said an increasingly uncertain economic outlook would take a toll on the broadcaster’s revenues in the last three months of the year, blunting the impact of a slightly better than expected performance over the year so far.

Sales at Marks & Spencer <MKS.L> fell in the first half of its financial year, with demand for clothing and food hit by disruption from the latest attempt to reinvent Britain’s most famous retailer.

As a result, shares in the retailer lost 2.4 percent.

Sophos Group <SOPH.L> fell as much as about 39 percent after the cyber security company cut its billings forecast and posted lower-than-expected billings numbers in the first half.

Shares in Britain’s G4S <GFS.L> tumbled more than 10 percent after the world’s biggest security firm said profit would not grow this year and pub operator JD Wetherspoon <JDW.L> also fell 10 percent with rising wages hitting results.

Britain’s second-biggest house-builder Persimmon <PSN.L> didn’t suffer much after it said its boss would resign after criticism over his multi-million pound bonus scheme.

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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