* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct
* Insurance, financials support index higher
* FTSE 250 closes at record level
* Thomas Cook suffers on cautious outlook
* Miners tumble as copper prices turn down
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By Kit Rees and Helen Reid
LONDON, Feb 9 Britain's top share index gained
on Thursday as insurance and banking stocks picked up pace,
while miners weighed.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.5 percent at
7,221.77 points at the market close, underperforming the
pan-European STOXX 600 index. It touched its highest
level since Jan. 19.
The mid-cap FTSE 250 index reversed earlier losses
to gain 0.1 percent and post a new record closing level of
Standard Life was the top gainer in the index, up 2.6
percent, with peer Prudential also gaining 2.1 percent.
Banking stocks were also up, getting a boost from U.S.
President Donald Trump promising a "phenomenal" announcement on
taxes. Cutting corporate tax rates was one of Trump's key
Royal Bank of Scotland was the top FTSE gainer, up
2.5 percent, while Barclays gained 2 percent.
Among smaller companies, results weighed on travel firm
Thomas Cook. Its shares had their worst daily losses
since June, closing down 7.7 percent.
While the tour operator said that summer bookings were ahead
of last year, early bookings strength in the UK had waned and
Thomas Cook was cautious on the outlook for the rest of 2017
given an uncertain political and economic climate.
Security concerns in previously popular destination Turkey
contributed to Thomas Cook's shares losing nearly 30 percent of
their value in 2016, though they recovered some ground in the
second half of the year.
"The shares feel fully priced to us and a 50 percent rally
post-Brexit leaves the risk/reward skewed to the downside,"
analysts at Panmure Gordon, which has a "sell" rating on the
stock, said in a note.
Jefferies analysts, which have a "buy" rating on Thomas
Cook, said: "In our view management's conscious decision to
rebalance its UK offer on higher margin, quality holidays
warrants more credit than the market currently reflects."
Thomas Cook's blue-chip peer TUI also came under
pressure, down 2 percent.
Mid-cap Dairy Crest was also a top faller, down 6.4
percent after it said it anticipated higher debt as milk prices
it pays for its Cathedral City cheddar and Clover butter
products surged 38 percent.
British mining stocks were also under pressure, with Anglo
American and Fresnillo among the biggest blue
chip fallers, down between 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent, tracking
the price of copper lower.
(Reporting by Kit Rees and Helen Reid; editing by Mark