UPDATE 2-Prospect of easing trade tensions, weaker pound lift FTSE 100


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    * FTSE 100 up 0.8%; FTSE 250 roughly flat
    * Improving trade sentiment buoys markets
    * Compass Group, Kingfisher among biggest blue-chip movers
    * Metro Bank rises as funding details awaited

 (Adds news items, analyst comment, updates to closing prices)
    By Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M
    May 15 (Reuters) - Hopes that the United States' trade
tensions with China and Europe will dissipate, combined with a
weaker pound, lifted Britain's main index higher on Wednesday,
as a slew of earnings reports also drove share moves.
    The FTSE 100  .FTSE  advanced 0.8% and outperformed its
European peers. The FTSE 250  .FTMC  was roughly flat.
    Markets were initially upbeat after U.S. President Donald
Trump said talks between Beijing and Washington had not
collapsed, terming the Sino-U.S. conflict as "a little
    Trump administration officials later said the President was
expected to delay a decision on imposing tariffs on imported
cars and parts by up to six months, further bolstering investor
sentiment.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N22R0RO
    "This may be a case of delaying the inevitable, but given
that the U.S. is already at odds with China and Iran, the
reasoning appears to be not to be fighting too many battles at
once," CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.
    Asia-focused HSBC  HSBA.L  provided the biggest boost to the
main index, while exporter stocks also supported it, benefiting
from a drop in sterling as Brexit jitters resurfaced.
    Sterling fell to a three-month low, with Prime Minister
Theresa May expected to once again fail in getting her
thrice-rejected Brexit deal approved.  GBP/  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nBREXIT
    On an earnings-heavy day, Compass Group  CPG.L  was among
the top blue-chip gainers. The world's biggest catering company
rose 2.9% after raising its forecast for annual organic revenue
growth.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N22R24G
    But home improvement retailer Kingfisher  KGF.L  declined
3.6% after lower first-quarter sales in France, its
second-biggest market.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N22R1MU
    SSE  SSE.L  and National Grid  NG.L  fell 2.5% and 0.9%
respectively. Britain's opposition Labour Party published plans
to re-nationalise the country's energy networks, prompting
utilities to warn of damage to investment, high taxpayer costs
and a slower transition to green energy.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N22R3NS
    On the mid-cap index, Metro Bank  MTRO.L , which has seen
volatile trading in recent months after disclosing an accounting
error, gained 15% with details of fresh funding from new and
existing investors awaited.
    Provident Financial  PFG.L  skidded 6.5%. The company has
been subject to a hostile takeover by smaller rival Non-Standard
Finance  NSF.L , which said after markets shut that it would go
ahead with its 1.3 billion pound takeover for the larger
subprime lender.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N22R7A7

 (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M, additional
reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison
 ((Shashwat.Awasthi@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223
3403; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 3403; Reuters Messaging:
For related prices, Reuters users may click on - * 
 UK stock report      .L     
 FTSE index:          0#.FTS6  
 techMARK 100 index:  .FTT1X          FTSE futures:      0#FFI:  
 Gilt futures:        0#FLG:          Smallcap index:     .FTSC  
 FTSE 250 index:      .FTMC           FTSE 350 index:     .FTLC  
 Market digest:       .AD.L           Top 10 by vol:      .AV.L  
 Top price gainers:   .NG.L           Top % gainers:      .PG.L  
 Top price losers:    .NL.L           Top % losers:       .PL.L  
 * For related news, click on - *
 UK hot stocks:      [HOT and GB]     Wall Street:           .N 
 Gilts report:        GB/             Euro bond report  GVD/EUR 
 Pan European stock report:  .EU 
 Tokyo stocks:        .T              HK stocks:            .HK 
 Sterling report:     GBP/            Dollar report:       USD/ 
 * For company prices, click on - *
 Company directory:   UKEQ           By sector:           FTAX  
 * For pan-European market data, click on - *
 European Equities speed guide................  EUR/EQUITY  
 FTSE Eurotop 300 index...........................  .FTEU3  
 DJ STOXX index...................................  .STOXX  
 Top 10 STOXX sectors........................  .PGL.STOXXS  
 Top 10 EUROSTOXX sectors...................  .PGL.STOXXES  
 Top 10 Eurotop 300 sectors..................  .PGL.FTEU3S  
 Top 25 European pct gainers....................  .PG.PEUR  
 Top 25 European pct losers.....................  .PL.PEUR ))

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