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FTSE rises slightly as defensives, miners gain

FTSE rises slightly as defensives, miners gain
People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File photo   -   Copyright  Suzanne Plunkett(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – UK shares were slightly higher on Monday amid relative calm as investors fled to safety in defensive stocks after last week’s tumult and Prime Minister Theresa May continued to fight for support for her Brexit deal.

Miners also helped the FTSE 100 <.FTSE>, which was up 0.33 percent at 1016 GMT, outperforming most of its euro zone peers after an earlier rally ran out of steam.

“Things are a bit calmer and there’s not been anything particularly exciting bearing in mind that end of last week,” said Mike van Dulken Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

A rout in Renault shares after its chief executive Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan on suspicion of under-reporting his salary, cast a pall over France’s CAC 40.

With the earnings season drawing to a close, UK investors focused on politics as May vowed to fight on to gather support for her draft European Union divorce deal as dissenters in her own party scrambled to trigger a leadership challenge.

“May might have overcome the issue of no confidence vote and that adds an element of certainty and may mean we’re looking at a deal rather than a no deal and businesses like certainty,” said van Dulken.

Defensive stocks, such as British American Tobacco <BATS.L>, contributed the greatest gains to the market, with miners <.FTNMX1770> adding 0.54 percent.

Banking and retail stocks recovered some of the ground lost during last week’s sell-off, with Kingfisher <KGF.L> up 1.6 percent and Lloyds Bank <LLOY.L> up 1.2 percent.

But the gains were meagre compared with the millions of dollars wiped off the sectors last week.

“Some of the stocks that were brutalised the most haven’t really bounced, so there’s no big UK relief if you look at what’s happening on the FTSE today,” said Eric Moore, income fund manager at Miton.

Housebuilders continued to get bulldozed, with traders citing data from real estate website RightMove that showed UK house prices in October fell year on year for the first time since 2011.

Barratt Development <BDEV.L> and Persimmon <PSN.L> were down 1.6 percent and 0.8 percent respectively.

Last week, the sector was one of the hardest hit by the chaos over Brexit with investors worrying about the impact of a possible second referendum, general election or hard Brexit on the British economy.

Among the midcaps, Diploma jumped 5.8 percent to the top of the board as investors cheered better-than-expected full-year results.

Intermediate <ICP.L> extended last week’s gains triggered by earnings after a positive note from JPMorgan.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason; additional reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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