(Reuters) - A weaker pound, buoyant overnight Asian shares and growing confidence in the financial sector helped pushed British shares higher and slightly ahead of their European peers on Monday.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up 0.6 percent by 0906 gmt while Paris and Frankfurt were both up 0.1% after strong US job growth had helped Wall Street close higher on Friday.“
GBP (sterling) has given up the gains made on Friday morning”, after the announcement of a deal between the European Commission and Britain on Brexit divorce terms, Rabobank said in a note.
A lower pound generally support the FTSE as the weaker currency translates into an accounting boost for large firms with overseas revenues.
Financials added the most points to the index as the Federal Reserve’s widely expected rate hike on Wednesday and a deal last week on banking rules fuelled positive sentiment.
HSBC rose 1.8%, Standard Chartered 1.7% and Lloyds 0.6%.
Anglo-South African investment bank and asset manager Investec was up 2.5% after it said its credit exposure to troubled South African retailer Steinhoff represented only a small portion of its balance sheet.
Babcock’s shares were up 1.9%, the best performance on the index after it said no changes were required in preparation for the adoption of the latest financial reporting rules.
BAE Systems added 1.1% after Qatar agreed to a $6.7bn Typhoon combat jets deal.
Unilever added 0.3% after reports Apollo Global Management, US agricultural trader Archer Daniels Midland and former chief executive of Germany’s Grohe, David Haines, were preparing to submit a new bid in a $7bn auction for its spreads business.
British sausage-skin maker Devro was down 0.3% after its Chief Executive Peter Page agreed to step down after the company’s annual results in February.
The London Stock Exchange Group also shed 0.3% as reports said it has begun interviewing candidates for a new chief executive, in what can be seen as a sign its board is confident it fend off an activist investor’s attempt to oust the chairman.