LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Rises To 2-week High, With Retailers In Recovery Mode

By Carla Mozee and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Brexit talks begin in Brussels; Bank of England has new policy maker

U.K. stocks rose Monday to close at a two-week high, with investors taking on risk by scooping up commodity shares, while retail shares were recovering after a selloff in the previous session.

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The FTSE 100 rose 0.8% to end at 7,523.81, with its best session since June 9 led by basic materials and industrial shares. Miners Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) and Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) climbed 2.9% and 2%, respectively. Oil producer BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) tacked on 1.3%.

The FTSE 100 on Friday broke a four-day losing streak (, but still finished the week with a 0.9% decline.

Financial markets early Monday were steady after initial reports of a "major incident" in London involving a van being driven into a crowd of people ( near a North London mosque. One person is dead and several have been injured. Metropolitan Police are now investigating the incident as a potential terror attack and a 48-year-old man has been arrested. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday condemned all forms of extremism and said extra police will be deployed to protect mosques.

Brexit talks: The new trading week kicked off with the start of talks over Britain's exit from the European Union, or Brexit, nearly a year after the U.K. voted to leave the EU in a referendum. U.K.'s Brexit Secretary David Davis and his team were meeting with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his in Brussels.

No Brexit deal for the U.K. would be a "very, very bad outcome," U.K. Treasury chief Philip Hammond said on BBC1's "The Andrew Marr Show" show on Sunday. Britain will exit the European Union's single market, but an agreement for a smooth transition would be ideal, he said.

"Hammond noted that he wants to push for a 'jobs first' Brexit and rejected the government's previous mantra that 'no deal is better than a bad deal,'" wrote IronFX senior analyst Charalambos Pissouros.

"We consider these as preliminary indications that the Conservatives' stance to Brexit may have started to soften up. If more government or Tory officials echo similar remarks, then speculation regarding a smoother Brexit could resurface," he said.

The pound was buying $1.2739 (, pulling back from an intraday high of $1.2817. Sterling late Friday fetched $1.2778 in New York. The currency has slid over the months from around $1.50 as voting in the Brexit referendum got under way on June 23, 2016.

Read:Greece's ex-finance minister Varoufakis warns of 5-year talks for Brexit deal (

U.K. stocks Monday rose alongside European markets , as the French CAC index surged after French President Emmanuel Macron's upstart party notched a strong win ( in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Retail recovery: J Sainsbury PLC shares (SBRY.LN) bulked up 2.3%, and Marks & Spencer Group PLC (MKS.LN) (MKS.LN) picked up 1.6% after Friday's selloff among food retailers. That move lower came after Inc. (AMZN) said it made a deal to buy Whole Foods Market Inc ( , which sparked concerns of increased competition in the grocery industry.

But on the midcap FTSE 250 (OCDO.LN) , Ocado Group (OCDO.LN) jumped nearly 11%, as the British online grocery company is considered a takeover target.

See: European grocers crumble after Amazon-Whole Foods deal fuels pricing concerns (

In other stock movers, educational-materials publisher Pearson PLC (PSON.LN) fell 1.1% as Goldman Sachs reiterated its sell rating on the company.

BOE watch: Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney will deliver a speech at Mansion House in London on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. Carney was set to offer his view on the outlook for the U.K. economy at last week's Mansion House dinner, but the high-profile, annual event was canceled as the government responded to the massive London apartment building fire that has now left at least 79 people presumed dead. (

Separately, Silvana Tenreyro, a professor at the London School of Economics, was named to the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee ( Her three-year term will take effect on July 7. Tenreyro, who holds degrees from Harvard University and the Universidad Nacional de Tucuman in Argentina, will take the place of Kristin Forbes, who's term is expiring. Forbes has recently voted in favor of interest-rate hikes.

Tenreyro has conducted academic work on productivity, housing and wage issues, among others, the BOE said.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 19, 2017 12:10 ET (16:10 GMT)