FTSE 100 closes at near 1-month high on China-exposed stocks boost

By Siddarth S and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) -London’s FTSE 100 index on Monday ended at its highest in nearly a month, after China-exposed stocks got a boost from data which pointed to stabilisation in the world’s second-largest economy, while Vistry led a rally among housebuilders.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.3%, gaining for a third-consecutive session, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index gained 0.3%.

Data showed China’s consumer prices returned to positive territory in August, while the country’s new bank loans jumped more than expected, reflecting signs of economic stabilisation in the top metals consumer.

Industrial metal miners gained 2.7%, while HSBC Holdings, which has a large presence in China, rose 1.0%.

Volatile commodity prices and concerns of slowing demand have hammered China-exposed miner stocks this year as the country struggles to revive its sluggish economy.

“The reading, which emerged over the weekend, implies an improvement in the commodities demand picture and in turn provides a boost to the resources sector,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould, but said the focus will soon shift to a key inflation reading from the U.S. on Wednesday.

The British public’s expectations for inflation over the medium to long term, closely watched by the Bank of England, rose in August, a survey on Friday showed.

Vistry Group jumped 12.6% to the top of the midcap index, after the British homebuilder said it will shift its entire focus onto its affordable homes business, while maintaining its annual profit outlook.

The broader homebuilders index soared 2.6%, hitting a near one-month high.

AstraZeneca fell 3.2% to its lowest since late July, after The Mail reported on Sunday that the drugmaker’s CEO, Pascal Soriot, had privately told friends and trusted advisers that he was looking to step down.

Barclays rose 1.1% after Reuters reported on Friday the lender was planning to cut hundreds of jobs, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

(Reporting by Siddarth S and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, William Maclean)