London's FTSE extends rebound

The FTSE 100 index added 51.49 points or 0.79 percent on Friday to close at 6,550.27 points
The FTSE 100 index added 51.49 points or 0.79 percent on Friday to close at 6,550.27 points (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)

London (AFP) - London's leading share index rose on Tuesday, extending the previous day's gains as easing fears over Ukraine fuelled optimism ahead of a speech by the head of the US central bank this week.

The benchmark FTSE 100 gained 0.56 percent to close at 6,779.31 points after rebounding sharply on Monday on easing investor concerns over the unrest in east Ukraine and Iraq.

The continued move higher "reflects investors' improved sentiment as geopolitical risk subsides and the prospect of premature central bank tightening fades", said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari traders.

Traders were also looking ahead to a speech on Friday by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen for any hint of a change to the US central bank's interest rate plans.

Last month, Yellen said that the Fed would hold its near-zero interest rate policy until the US economy strengthened, but may raise rates if the jobs market continues to improve.

In London, DIY retailer Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, was the top performer in percentage terms, rising 3.74 percent to 310.6 pence.

Sports Direct followed, advancing 3.34 percent to 726.5 pence.

Global mining giant BHP Billiton was the biggest faller, losing 4.93 percent to 1,965 pence after announcing plans to create a new independent company by spinning off non-core assets to cut costs and boost productivity.

Mexican precious metals miner Fresnillo fell 2.99 percent to 973 pence.

Lloyds Banking Group was the most traded stock, with 61.93 million units changing hands, followed by Vodafone with 42.64 million.

On the currency markets, the pound was trading at $1.6618 around 5.30pm, down from $1.6721 around the same time Monday. It fell to 1.2478 euros from 1.2519 euros over the same period.