* FTSE 100 index up 0.4 percent
* Miners top gainers
* Reckitt Benckiser weak after finalises U.S. deal
(Adds detail and quote, updates prices at close)
By Kit Rees and Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 10 Britain's commodity-heavy FTSE
100 index climbed to a three-week high on Friday, with a
rally in metals prices on soothing Chinese data and supply
concerns boosting shares in basic resources companies.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.4 percent higher at
7,258.75 points after hitting an intra-day peak of 7,274.80, the
highest since Jan. 17. The benchmark index, up 1 percent this
week, marked a second week of gains.
The UK mining index gained 3.6 percent as
copper rose after China reported better-than-expected trade data
for January and workers at BHP Billiton's mine in Chile
went on a strike that threatened to disrupt copper supply.
Prices of other industrial metals were also sharply higher.
Shares in Anglo American, Antofagasta, Rio
Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton -- top five
gainers in the FTSE 100 index -- advanced 2.4 to 5.6 percent.
Sentiment also improved after data highlighted that British
manufacturing grew more strongly than expected in December,
suggesting the economy remained resilient to the end of the year
despite June's Brexit vote shock.
"There is plenty to be cheery about UK plc. Industrial
production growth hit a six-year high in the final month of 2016
... While slower than the 2.1 percent seen in Nov, it was miles
ahead of the flat growth expected," said Neil Wilson, analyst at
"Today’s data confirm that the UK economy remains very
resilient and lends support to the Bank of England’s decision to
revise up its 2017 growth outlook."
Shares in Reckitt Benckiser, however, were the
biggest losers among the blue chips, down 3 percent after
reaching a deal to buy U.S. infant formula maker Mead Johnson
Nutrition for $16.6 billion.
Among mid-caps, speciality chemicals maker Elementis
rose more than 10 percent after saying it would buy U.S.-based
SummitReheis for an enterprise value of $360 million. The deal
would increase the annual sales of its personal care business to
$200 million and boost its adjusted earnings.
On the downside, Just Eat fell 6.5 percent after the
chief executive of the online food delivery company was to quit
due to "urgent family matters", prompting the chairman to step
into his role on a temporary basis.
(Reporting by Kit Rees and Atul Prakash)