LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Regain Luster As Miners, EasyJet Climb

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pound drops to 3-week low against dollar

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U.K. stocks marched higher on Thursday, a day after narrowly breaking a five-session winning run, as miners advanced on the back of a rally for all major metals.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% to 7,486.66, setting it on track for its sixth win in seven days. The benchmark on Wednesday slipped 0.01% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-stocks-waver-as-investors-nervously-wait-for-services-pmi-2017-10-04) after a mixed reading on the country's services sector capped off a disappointing round of figures for purchasing managers indexes.

There were no major on deck from the U.K. on Thursday.

"U.K. stocks have held their ground despite a rather shambolic party conference speech from Prime Minister Theresa May," said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, in a note.

"We think the spurts of coughing, a collapsing sign and prankster are emblematic of her future. The odds she can hold on until the end of Brexit talks and provide enough stability for markets have been cut by that performance," he added.

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May on Wednesday delivered a closely watched speech at the Conservative Party's annual conference, but the speech did not exactly go according to plan (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-leader-theresa-mays-slogan-literally-fell-apart-during-her-disastrous-speech-2017-10-04).

The pound managed to eke out a small gain on Wednesday, but fell to $1.3198 on Thursday to trade at a 3-week low. Sterling fetched $1.3246 late Wednesday in New York.

Stock movers: Miners led the London benchmark higher as metals rose across the board. Shares of Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) climbed 1.4%, Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) added 1% and Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) picked up 0.5%.

Merlin Entertainments PLC (MERL.LN) advanced 1.4% after a report that the U.K. theme park operator has approached SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) about a possible sale (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/seaworld-surges-on-reports-of-possible-deal-with-legoland-owner-2017-10-05).

EasyJet PLC (EZJ.LN) put on 1.3%. The low cast carrier said passenger traffic rose 11% in September compared to a year ago.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2017 03:52 ET (07:52 GMT)