London’s FTSE 100 rises as Bank of England steps in to stabilise markets

By Johann M Cherian, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Susan Mathew (Reuters) -London's blue-chip FTSE index erased steep session losses to close higher on Wednesday, while the mid-cap index cut all of its bruising 3% plunge after the Bank of England's promise of bond purchases lifted sentiment. The BoE said it would buy as many long-dated government bonds as needed between now and Oct.

14 to stabilise financial markets, adding that it would postpone the planned start of its gilt sale programme. UK gilt prices soared. [GB/] The move came after the pound sank to record lows earlier this week in the wake of Britain UK's new economic strategy.

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund censured the plan while rating agency Moody's warned large unfunded tax cuts were "credit negative" for Britain.[GBP/] "This shows that the Bank is going to do all it can to prevent a financial crisis and it is already working," said Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics. The blue-chip index rose 0.3% after dropping as much as 2.1% to six-month lows earlier in the session.

The more domestically focused FTSE 250 closed down flat, recovering from two-year lows. As copper prices recovered, miners were the biggest boost to the FTSE 100, followed by healthcare and energy stocks. [MET/L] [O/R] Markets globally took heart with euro zone shares rising 0.3%, while U.S. stocks rallied after a dizzying sell-off over the past few weeks. [.N]

Stock markets have been hit globally this year amid worries that aggressive monetary policy tightening to curb stubbornly high inflation could tip economies into recession. The FTSE 100 has lost 5% so far this year. "The fact that it needed to be done in the first place shows that the UK markets are in a perilous position.

It wouldn't be a huge surprise if another problem in the financial markets popped up before long," Dales said. "Either way, the downside risks to economic growth are growing. And the Chancellor's 2.5% real GDP growth target is looking even more unachievable."

Story continues Weighing on the index, rate-sensitive banking stocks declined 2.5%. [GB/] Among individual stocks, Burberry Group rose 5.0% after announcing Daniel Lee would be its new chief creative officer.

(Reporting by Susan Mathew, Johann M Cherian and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Savio D'Souza, Shounak Dasgupta and Mark Heinrich)