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15-11-2010 18:19:38

FTSE lifted by commodities, banks, U.S. retail data

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By Jon Hopkins

LONDON (Reuters) - A rise in commodity shares and banks hauled the leading share index higher on Monday, with better than expected U.S. retail sales numbers also helping, providing a boost to global recovery hopes.

At the close the FTSE 100 was up 23.54 points, or 0.4 percent at 5,820.41, nearer the session peak of 5,832.88 than the intraday low of 5,755.68.

Miners were a strong factor in the gains as the sector recovered after recent falls, helped by improved prospects for the U.S. economy.

Lonmin (Lonmin PLC ORD USD0.0001) stood out, up 4 percent, as the platinum producer posted a swing to full-year profit and restarted dividends, prompting JP Morgan to raise its rating to "neutral" from "underweight."

BHP Billiton (BHP Billiton PLC ORD $0.50) added 1.8 percent after the miner scrapped its $39 billion (24 billion pounds) bid for Canada's Potash Corp (Potash Corporation of Saskatch), and revived a $4.2 billion share buyback plan instead.

U.S. shares were up by London's close with the Dow Jones Industrials index 0.5 percent ahead, supported by some merger activity and October retail sales numbers which pointed to an economy that might be gaining strength.

"The good U.S. data has helped push the underlying market worries aside for the moment, although European debt concerns remain, and the underlying mood continues to be volatile," said Mic Mills, head of electronic trading at ETX Capital.

Integrated oils also gained in London as the crude price firmed, with Royal Dutch Shell (Royal Dutch Shell PLC 'A' ORD) up 0.4 percent.

BP added 0.6 percent as the firm, which is in the process of raising $25 billion to $30 billion by the end of 2011 to help pay for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, agreed to sell its southern Africa forecourt network.

Explorer Tullow Oil (Tullow OIL PLC ORD 10P) was strong, up 1.4 percent after Anadarko Petroleum (Anadarko Petroleum Corporation) said its Mercury-1 oil well located in the waters off the Sierra Leone coast, in which Tullow has a 10 percent stake, encountered oil.

BANKS BOUNCE

Banks edged up as European debt concerns faded slightly, with partly state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (Royal Bank of Scotland Group P) and Lloyds Banking Group up 1 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

But industrial controls and engineering group Invensys (Invensys PLC ORD 12.5P) was the top blue chip gainer, ahead 9.1 percent. The firm said on Monday it was not in offer talks, after Chief Executive Ulf Henriksson had been quoted as suggesting in an interview with the Daily Telegraph on November 13 that China Southern Rail could do a deal if the price was right.

Rolls-Royce , however, topped the list of FTSE 100 fallers, down 2.3 percent following a media report that the company might have to replace another 29 of its Trent 900 engines on Airbus A380 superjumbos after one caught fire on a Qantas flight two weeks ago.

Drugmakers were the main curb on blue chip sentiment, with AstraZeneca (Astrazeneca PLC ORD SHS $0.25) down 0.7 percent and GlaxoSmithKline (Glaxosmithkline PLC ORD 25P) off 0.1 percent as defensively-perceived issues fell back.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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