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FTSE 100 rises as China trade data lifts mining stocks

The FTSE 100 ended the day higher thanks to a jump in mining stocks, as investors cheered Chinese data showing a rise in commodity imports.

London's top tier index index closed higher by 0.4% or 29.25 points at 7,258.75 points, topped by Rio Tinto up 190.5p to 3,572.5p, Antofagasta up 38.5p to 866p, Anglo American up 57p to 1,352.5p.

"A decent rebound in the latest Chinese trade data has carried over on the FTSE 100 from last nights "phenomenal" Trump bump in US market," Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said.

"Data showed that Chinese imports in January rose 16.7%, helped by big increases in oil, iron ore, copper and aluminium as well as rubber. The usual suspects of Anglo American, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are leading the gainers," he added.

Sterling was trading flat against the US dollar at 1.249, and was up 0.1% versus the euro at 1.174, as investors digested UK data showing robust growth in Britain's manufacturing and construction industries.

Construction output beat expectations, rising 1.8% in December, up from a revised 0.4% in November, while manufacturing output rose 2.1% in December.

The Office for National Statistics also reported that Britain's trade gap shrunk by £300 million to £3.3 billion in December after the export of goods to non-EU countries rose by £1.1 billion.

Across Europe, the French Cac 40 closed relatively flat, while the German Dax rose 0.2%.

In oil markets, Brent crude rose nearly 2% to 56.78 US dollars per barrel after the International Energy Agency reported that most Opec members were following through on pledges to cut back production.

In UK stocks, Reckitt Benckiser Group shares fell 214p to 7,025p after the Durex owner confirmed plans to acquire US baby formula maker Mead Johnson for 16.6 billion US dollars (£13.2 billion).

Shares in Centrica rose 1.4p to 234p as British Gas announced that a price freeze for customers on its standard energy tariff would be extended until August.

Away from the top tier index, Greene King shares dropped 24.5p to 676.5p after reporting slowing growth in like-for-like sales, which rose 1.1% in the 40 weeks to February 5, down from 1.3% in the first half of the year.

The pub company again flagged that it was facing a period of "economic uncertainty and significant cost pressures".

Just Eat shares slipped 36p to 518.5p following news that chief executive David Buttress would be stepping down from his role due to "urgent family matters", but would continue to work full-time until the end of the first quarter.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Rio Tinto up 190.5p to 3,572.5p, Antofagasta up 38.5p to 866p, Anglo American up 57p to 1,352.5p, and Glencore up 8.55p to 320.75p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Reckitt Benckiser Group down 214p at 7,025p, Royal Bank of Scotland Group down 4.2p at 228.9p, Convatec Group down 3.7p at 240.3p, and Smith & Nephew down 12p to 1,186p.

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