By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
British American Tobacco, Wm Morrison among top movers
The FTSE 100 struggled to capture positive ground on Thursday, with gains from the mining sector lifting the index higher, while energy names tugged the other way.
Many investors were distracted by an important European Central Bank meeting , but the U.K. index clung to gains. Helping out were signs of easing tensions between the U.S. and China, after President Donald Trump tweeted that he will delay implementing higher tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods for two weeks as a "gesture of good will."
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What that did for London was lift commodity producers such as Glencore and Anglo American, up 2% and 1.2%, respectively.
The FTSE 100 index rose 0.1% to 7341.52. The pound was flat at $1.2325.
Of stocks in focus, shares of British American Tobacco (A) climbed 3% after the company said it would lay off 2,300 employees by 2020 in a bid to streamline its operations. The London Stock Exchange slipped 0.1% after the Financial Times reported (https://www.ft.com/content/d53ae238-d46f-11e9-8367-807ebd53ab77) the group would reject a nearly $40 billion (30 billion pounds) buyout offer from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing .
Shares of Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (MRW.LN) was a top gainer for the index, up 3.5% after the retailer said profit rose 49% in the first half of fiscal 2020, and said its partnership with Amazon will be extended.