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* FTSE 100 closes 0.3 percent higher
* Mid-caps, small caps hit record closing highs
* Mining sector underpins gains
By Kit Rees
LONDON, Feb 13 Britain's top share index
advanced for a fifth straight session to its highest level in
nearly a month, with a sharp rally in basic resources stocks on
the back of stronger metals prices supporting the broader
UK mid-caps and small caps both hit record
closing highs, posting gains of 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent
respectively on the day.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.3 percent
higher at 7,278.92 points after hitting an intra-day high of
7,298.47, the highest level since mid-January. It now stands
some 75 points below its record peak scaled on Jan. 16.
The UK mining index surged 2.2 percent as the
price of copper touched a 20-month high on the back of supply
worries after shipments were shut off from the world's two
biggest copper mines. Prices of the other major industrial
metals also gained.
"Not surprisingly the basic resource sector has driven the
gains, with Anglo American and Glencore leading the gainers,"
said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.
Shares in Glencore, Anglo American, Rio
Tinto and Antofagasta climbed between 2 percent
and 4.2 percent.
A number of price-target upgrades also helped the sector.
Glencore was raised to "equal weight" from "underweight" at
Morgan Stanley, while RBC Capital Markets raised Rio Tinto's
"Post 2016 Glencore's valuation multiples, financial risk,
downside to PT and risk reward skew are similar to its London
peers," Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.
"Reinvestment or return of excess cash is the key value
An upgrade from Peel Hunt to "add" from "hold" helped
Hargreaves Lansdown rise 2.1 percent, with analysts
citing a stronger-than-expected first-half performance in its
results last week.
"As much as the financial returns, in our view the statement
last week confirmed the power of Hargreaves’ business model,"
Peel Hunt analysts said in a note, singling out the development
of the company's HL Savings unit.
On the macroeconomic front, the European Commission said
that Britain's GDP growth was forecast to fall from 2 percent in
2016 to 1.5 percent this year. However, it was better than the
previous estimate of 1 percent.
The market showed little reaction to data showing British
households kept a tighter grip on their credit cards last month
as spending grew at one of the slowest annual rates in the past
three years, adding to signs that consumer spending is starting
to lose momentum.
(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Mark