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04 Nov 2019 | 16:54

UK stocks rally firmly into close as US opens at record highs and trade tensions ease

A strong start to trading in New York propped up UK equity markets on Monday, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index closing up nearly 63 points, or about 1%, at 7,365.32.

Mining stocks helped power the advance which was given extra momentum thanks to a strong start on Wall Street, where both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 rallied around 0.5% to all-time highs.

Investor sentiment was also bolstered by hopes of progress between the US and China on trade with US stocks also expected to open higher later.

British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines rose 1.2% to 549p on announcing that Spanish unit Iberia had agreed to acquire rival Spanish carrier Air Europa for €1bn.

Budget carrier Ryanair gained 7.5% to €13.44 as it reported a flat first-half profit, although ahead of forecasts, and narrowed its guidance range for the full year.

Infant merchandise retailer Mothercare slumped 26% to 8.38p on news that it would place its loss-making UK retailing operation, which currently has 79 stores, into administration.

The company's profitable international business would not be affected by the move, it added.

Food delivery group Just Eat lost most of its earlier gains to finish at 737.8p, barely up at all, after takeover suitor changed the structure of its offer from a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement to a bid with a 75% acceptance level.

Marston's dipped 0.2% to 122.9p, reversing earlier gains, on agreeing to sell 137 pubs for £44.9m to Admiral Taverns to cut debt.

Insurance company Hiscox reversed 2.4% to £14.40 as claims surged above budget for the second half, owing to storms in the US, the Caribbean and Japan.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust fell 7.6% to 35p after announcing that its net asset value would fall due amended valuations of two of its portfolio companies.

Flexible office space provider IWG climbed 3.2% to 395.3p as it entered into a franchise agreement to sell its workspace business in Switzerland for 120m Swiss francs (£94m).

Payments group Equiniti firmed 2% to 223p on news that it had acquired transfer agent Corporate Stock Transfer in a bid to boost its US operations, for an undisclosed sum.

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