By Bansari Mayur Kamdar
(Reuters) -London's FTSE 100 index marked its highest close in 20 months on Monday, aided by gains in most bank stocks and a weaker pound, while shares of British bank Barclays slipped after its chief executive officer stepped down.
Barclays fell 1.1% after it announced the departure of CEO Jes Staley following a dispute with British financial regulators over how he described his ties with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The FTSE 100 index rose 0.8% to record its highest close since February 2020, with banks Standard Chartered and Lloyds Banking Group among the top boosts.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index advanced 0.6%.
Britain's FTSE 100 has this year lagged the pan-European STOXX 600 index, which hit a record high on Monday, as supply chain problems, a fuel crisis and interest rate hike worries weighed on domestic markets. [.EU]
Investor focus is on the Bank of England (BoE) meeting on Thursday with swaps pricing pointing to a better-than-even chance of the central bank raising interest rates for the first time since the pandemic. [BOEWATCH]
"A few small rises will be absorbed by most firms, and higher rates are even good news for some sectors, like banks. But the BoE needs to be careful, raise too much too quickly and they will cause both an economic and market downturn as consumers and corporates struggle to service debt," said Emma Wall, head of investment analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown.
British business sentiment fell slightly in October after touching its highest since the start of the pandemic, according to a survey by Lloyds Bank.
(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Amal S in BengaluruEditing by Shounak Dasgupta and Mark Potter)