Banks, energy stocks push FTSE 100 higher as crisis fears ease

The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain
The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
  • Commodity-linked stocks rise tracking higher commodity prices
  • Banks rise as fears of a crisis ease
  • FTSE 100 up 0.9%, FTSE 250 adds 0.4%

March 17 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 rose nearly 1% on Friday, with bank stocks rallying as support measures eased fears of a global banking meltdown and commodity-linked stocks tracked commodity prices higher.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) rose 0.9%.

However, the index was on track to post its worst weekly performance in nine months as fears of a global banking crisis enveloped markets, following the collapse of two U.S. lenders, with troubles at Swiss lender Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) only compounding fears.

The fears began to ease after major U.S. banks on Thursday offered a $30 billion lifeline for beleaguered First Republic Bank (FRC.N), while Credit Suisse also received an emergency liquidity line from the Swiss central bank.

British banks (.FTNMX301010) gained 0.2%. Lender Barclays (BARC.L) rose 1.2%.

London stocks on track to decline for the week

"Increasingly, the message coming out is that these are not the same (U.S. banks) issues that are impacting the UK banks," said Matt Evans, portfolio manager for UK sustainable equities at Ninety One in London.

Evans said some of the nervousness that hit stocks recently is easing, resulting in a relief rally on Friday.

Industrial metal miners (.FTNMX551020) jumped 3.2% as most base metal prices rallied.

Energy stocks (.FTNMX601010) also surged 3.1% as majors Shell (SHEL.L) and BP (BP.L) rose 3.0% and 3.2%, respectively, tracking higher oil prices.

Crude prices firmed after a meeting between Saudi Arabia and Russia calmed markets amid strong China demand expectations.

Looking ahead, investor focus would shift to interest rate decisions from the Bank of England and Federal Reserve next week in light of the European Central Bank raising its interest rate by a hefty 50-basis points on Thursday.

The more domestically focussed FTSE 250 midcap index (.FTMC) gained 0.4% as Bodycote (BOY.L) surged 6.7% after the thermal processing service provider reported higher full-year revenue.

Among other gainers, GSK (GSK.L) gained 1.5% after Deutsche Bank raised the drugamaker's rating to "buy" from "hold".

UK-listed shares of Flutter Entertainment (FLTRF.L) rose 3.1% after HSBC raised its price target on stock.

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Shailesh Kuber

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