* FTSE 100 index up 2.1 pct
* Banks rally, led by Barclays
* Precious metals miners struggle
* Centrica, SSE drop on Conservative election pledge
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By Kit Rees and Helen Reid
LONDON, April 24 Britain's top share index
jumped on Monday as banking stocks surged after centrist
Emmanuel Macron came out on top in the first round of France's
The blue chip FTSE 100 index closed 2.1 percent
higher at to 7,246.68 points, its biggest one-day jump since
early September 2016 and outpacing the mid caps which
closed up 1.3 percent at a new record closing level.
Macron won the first round of voting, qualifying for a
run-off alongside protectionist, eurosceptic Marine Le Pen.
Polls pointed to Macron easily beating Le Pen in the run-off on
May 7, calming market fears in light of the UK's Brexit vote and
Donald's Trump's election in the United States.
"It's the pro-growth backdrop that we're now starting to see
come through rather than ... ongoing austerity which is
providing quite a significant shift with the outlook for the
European banks, in particular with the French banks very much
leading the way, which of course sees their UK-listed
counterparts rally quite significantly today as well," Charles
Hanover Investments partner, Dafydd Davies, said.
UK banks jumped 3.1 percent, joining in with a
broader risk-on rally among European lenders, which
surged 4.8 percent. Shares in Barclays rose 5.4
percent, while Standard Chartered was up 4.8 percent
and Royal Bank of Scotland gained 2.8 percent.
Macron still needs to clinch the presidency and win a stable
majority in legislative elections in June.
"The reforms Mr Macron is proposing are positive but the
question is whether he will have the parliamentary legitimacy to
implement these," Barclays European economist, Francois Cabau,
"How much of it supports growth over the long term is still
very much a question to which we won't have the answer until the
18th of June, and potentially afterwards."
Among individual stock movers, energy provider Centrica
was the biggest FTSE faller, down 3.5 percent, while
sector peer SSE dropped 1.9 percent after Prime Minister
Theresa May's Conservative Party vowed to cap domestic prices if
it retains power in an election in June.
Precious metals miner Randgold Resources was among a
handful of stocks in negative territory, down 1.4 percent as
investors rotated out of more defensive safe-haven stocks.
Blue chips aside, shares in Kennedy Wilson Europe Real
Estate (KWE) jumped 14.1 percent after U.S. parent
company Kennedy Wilson said it would buy back KWE in an
all-share transaction with a combined enterprise value of $8.2
Computacenter gained 7.6 percent after an upbeat
Small-cap shoe retailer Jimmy Choo gained 9.9
percent after it put itself up for sale.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)