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Britain’s FTSE gains after Yellen comments, Glencore rallies

Britain’s FTSE gains after Yellen comments, Glencore ralliesBritain’s FTSE gains after Yellen comments, Glencore rallies

* FTSE 100 up 0.3 pct at close

* Yellen Jackson Hole speech boosts equities

* Glencore bounces back

* U.S. election uncertainty weighs on drugmakers (Recasts, adds quote and detail, updates prices at close)

By Kit Rees and Alistair Smout

LONDON, Aug 26 Britain’s top share index rose on
Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that a
U.S. interest rate rise could come later this year, a relief for
investors after last week’s hawkish comments from some Fed
policymakers.

The blue chip FTSE 100 was up 21.15 points, or 0.3
percent, at 6,838.05 points by the close, though it posted a
second straight weekly fall.

The FTSE 100 hit session highs after Yellen said that the
case for a U.S. rate hike had strengthened in recent months, due
to improved economic indicators.

“The speech itself was always going to struggle to live up
to the hype. In the end, Janet Yellen’s words followed a
familiar path of non-committal ambiguity,” CMC Markets’ analyst
Jasper Lawler said in a note.

Analysts said that they were now looking towards December
for a possible U.S. rate hike.

“We were expecting that we might be looking at a rate hike
in December anyway, and we suspect that we won’t have one before
the U.S. presidential elections,” Charles Stanley chief
investment commentator Garry White said.

The FTSE gains were led by a rise in mining stocks, with
Glencore bouncing back after results this week. It was
up 3.2 percent but remained down for the week as a whole.

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“GLEN’s H1-16 results are encouraging as there is good
progress with debt reduction and better visibility on cost
reduction & FCF (free cash flow) generation,” UBS analysts said
in a note.

Copper prices also stabilised after falls this week, while
the price of zinc hit a 15-month high. In all, miners rose 2.7 percent.

The pharmaceutical sector was under pressure for a second
straight session since U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary
Clinton criticised the pricing of a high-profile drug.

Both Astrazenca and Shire fell more than 1
percent. After a strong run, analysts said that the sector was
now vulnerable.

“Investors are pulling funds from what now seems to be one
of the most politically-sensitive industries in the run up to
the US presidential election,” CMC’s Lawler said in a note.

The FTSE was unaffected by data showing that GDP was in-line
with preliminary readings, and growth held up well ahead of
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Among mid-caps, the Restaurant Group rose 3.6
percent after its results beat expectations, while Amec Foster
Wheeler jumped 6.6 percent after an upgrade to “overweight” by Morgan Stanley. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

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