By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) — The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index broke a six-day losing streak on Monday, with Vodafone Group PLC boosting the benchmark after merger news and house builders rising after an extension to the Help-to-Buy scheme.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.61% advanced 0.6% to close at 6,568.35, following a weak sentiment last week. The benchmark on Friday closed with the biggest weekly loss since June last year, while the six days mired in the red marked the longest losing run since November 2011.
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In Monday’s trade, heavyweight Vodafone /zigman2/quotes/202484985/delayed UK:VOD +0.04% /zigman2/quotes/202862751/composite VOD +0.96% helped lift the FTSE, rising 1.7% after the telecoms firm reached an agreement to buy Spanish cable operator Ono SA for just over 7 billion euros ($9.7 billion), including debt. The deal follows weeks of negotiations.
Shares of Glencore Xstrata PLC /zigman2/quotes/201400686/delayed UK:GLEN +2.39% /zigman2/quotes/209462106/delayed GLCNF -1.27% rose 3.2% after people close to the matter said the mining major was close to reaching an agreement on the multibillion-dollar sale of its Las Bambas Peruvian copper project to a Chinese consortium.
Other miners were also among major advancers, even as metals prices were mixed. Anglo American PLC /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL +3.48% added 2.7%, BHP Billiton PLC /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP +1.52% /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +0.58% gained 1.2%, and Rio Tinto PLC /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO +1.24% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +1.08% /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO +1.07% put on 1.2%.
Home builders had a positive trading day after U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on Sunday said he’d extend the Help-to-Buy scheme until 2020 . The scheme has been a major catalyst in housing construction, and the chancellor estimated the extension would help finance the building of 120,000 new homes, according to reports.
Persimmon PLC /zigman2/quotes/206444744/delayed UK:PSN +0.47% climbed 3.7%, while outside the main London benchmark shares of Taylor Wimpey PLC gained 2.1%, Crest Nicholson Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/207992108/delayed UK:CRST -0.85% added 4.3%, and Barratt Developments PLC /zigman2/quotes/209812640/delayed UK:BDEV -0.38% picked up 3.1%.