LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Builds On Gains As Miners Get China Boost

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

BOE policy maker calls for an interest rate hike now

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U.K. stocks pushed higher Thursday, as miners logged gains in the last trading session of August after upbeat manufacturing data from major customer China.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% to 7,388.54, with only the oil and gas sector losing ground. On Wednesday, the London benchmark closed up by 0.4% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-bounces-back-from-1-week-low-as-north-korea-fears-ease-2017-08-30), coming back from a one-week low, and was on course for a modest monthly rise of 0.1%.

The basic materials group was the best performing as all mining shares moved higher. The advances came after an official gauge of China's factory activity rose in August (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-official-manufacturing-pmi-beats-forecasts-2017-08-30). China is a key buyer of industrial and precious metals, so mining companies are sensitive to developments in the world's second-largest economy.

"This is some welcome good news from Asia following recent geopolitical woes, building on yesterday's solid US GDP/ADP prints, compounding risk appetite at the continued expense of safe havens," such as gold, the yen, the Swiss franc and bonds, said Mike van Dulken and Henry Croft at Accendo Markets in a note.

Shares of copper producer Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) tacked on 3%, standing atop advancers on the FTSE 100. Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) picked up 2.4%, and Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) moved up 2.1%.

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Iron ore producer BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) was up 1.2%, brushing past a ratings downgrade to underperform from sector perform at RBC.

Rate view: Sterling bought $1.2903, compared with $1.2925 late Tuesday in New York. The pound dipped Thursday after Michael Saunders, a member of the rate-setting board at the Bank of England, said the central bank should raise interest rates now (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/boes-saunders-bank-should-hike-rates-now-2017-08-31).

"A modest rise in rates would help ensure a sustainable return of inflation to target over time," Saunders said in a speech in Cardiff, Wales, according to a text published by the BOE.

"I do not want to dismiss risks that the Brexit process might be bumpy, and could undermine business and consumer confidence," he said.

Stock movers: Few shares on the FTSE 100 were trading lower Wednesday. Shares of Provident Financial PLC (PFG.LN) and Royal Mail PLC (RMG.LN) were down 1.7% and 0.5%, respectively. The companies will leave the FTSE 100 after the close of trade on Sept. 15, and enter the mid-cap FTSE 250 Index , said index provider FTSE Russell on Tuesday.

Shares of BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) fell 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively, as oil prices wavered.

Headed in the other direction, shares in Ladbrokes Coral added 1% after the gambling company said the integration of the former Gala Coral (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ladbrokes-coral-profit-drops-on-integration-costs-2017-08-31) was going well and the revenue was up 1% on the year. Profit for the first half was down 8% as integration costs rose.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 31, 2017 04:23 ET (08:23 GMT)