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* Oil & gas, bank stocks power FTSE 100 higher
* Miner Ferrexpo top boost to midcap index
* FTSE 100 up 1.6%, FTSE 250 adds 0.7%
April 8 (Reuters) - Britain's top equity index closed at a
eight-week high on Friday, lifted by commodity and banking
stocks at the end of a volatile week that saw concerns about
higher U.S. interest rates and the Ukraine conflict rattle
The blue-chip FTSE 100 gained 1.6% to touch its
highest since Feb. 11, with oil majors BP, Shell
and miner Anglo American rising between 3.7% and 4.8%.
"The make-up of the FTSE 100 is the biggest reason why the
market is outperforming," said Maarten Geerdink, head of
European equities at NN Investment Partners.
"We've a very different landscape for commodities at this
time ... and the natural reaction from equity investors is if
you want to hedge yourself against inflation, you want to buy
into commodity exposure."
The FTSE 100 logged its fifth straight weekly gain, and is
up 3.7% so far this year due to its heavy weighting in energy
and mining companies, which have benefited from a sharp rally in
oil and metal prices.
Still, defensive sectors such as pharmaceuticals and
utilities boosted markets this week as investors played safe
amid concerns about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and prospects of
rapid policy tightening by global central banks to tame
The European Union adopted its fifth package of sanctions
against Russia, including bans on the import of coal, wood,
chemicals and other products. Britain added Russian President
Vladimir Putin's daughters to its sanctions list.
The domestically-focused midcap FTSE 250 index
closed up 0.7%, but still logged a weekly fall.
AstraZeneca gained 2.5% to hit a record high after
Credit Suisse raised its price target on the drugmaker's stock.
Ukraine-focussed miner Ferrexpo jumped 10.8% after
it said it was able to sell most of the iron ore pellets
produced in the first quarter.
Online trading platform CMC Markets climbed 12.8%
after its fourth-quarter trading update, while paper and
packaging group Mondi slipped 0.9% after Morgan
Stanley downgraded the stock to "equal-weight."
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru;
Editing by Arun Koyyur, Subhranshu Sahu and Pravin Char)