January 18, 2019 / 8:49 AM / 9 months ago

FTSE 100 rises on Sino-U.S. trade relief; Ryanair warning hits airlines

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* FTSE 100 up 0.8 pct

* FTSE 250 up 0.5 pct

* Ryanair’s profit alert drags UK airlines

* Sophos tanks after trading update

Jan 18 (Reuters) - British blue-chips opened higher on Friday as investors took respite from signs of easing trade tensions between the United States and China even as Brexit uncertainties lingered, while Ryanair’s latest alert knocked airline stocks.

FTSE 100 added 0.8 percent after trading most of the week in the red as sterling rose amid a tumultuous week in UK politics. The mid-caps were 0.5 percent higher at 0836 GMT after hitting their highest in one-and-a-half months.

The blue chips were on track for their first weekly drop in a month after a tumultuous week in UK politics.

A Wall Street Journal report that Washington was considering lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports buoyed global equity markets and lifted mining and banking stocks.

Oil majors BP and Shell were among the biggest support to FTSE 100 due to higher crude prices after data showed OPEC output fell. Easing trade frictions also contributed to the rise.

Financials recovered after Thursday’s European banking sector sell-off sparked by a profit warning from French bank Societe Generale. HSBC rose 0.9 percent to offer the biggest boost to the main index.

At home, Brexit proceedings looked far from smooth at the end of a chaotic week with Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn deadlocked over competing visions on how the world’s No. 5 economy would leave the European Union.

The last few days were dominated by Brexit headlines with May’s divorce deal overwhelmingly rejected by the parliament, followed by an unsuccessful no-confidence vote against her.

Corporate news was scant but drove some moves.

London-listed shares in Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, dipped 2 percent to their lowest in nearly four years after its second profit warning in three months and it predicted a rough outlook for the sector as a whole.

“We believe this lower fare environment will continue to shake out more loss making competitors, with WOW, Flybe, and reportedly Germania for example, all currently for sale,” CEO Michael O’Leary said.

Budget rival easyJet and British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines were the biggest blue-chip fallers as markets shunned airline stocks.

Mid-cap security software company Sophos slumped 27 percent to a near two-year low after flagging slightly lower annual billings. (Reporting by Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; editing by Josephine Mason)

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