* FTSE 100 up 0.6 pct
* FTSE 250 up 1.1 pct
* Sterling rally aids mid-cap index
* Frankie & Benny's owner surges on sales rise
* Just Group slips for 2nd straight day
* Interserve slumps with administration imminent
(Recasts, adds company news items, updates with closing prices)
By Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi
March 15 (Reuters) - Britain's mid-cap index hit a 5-month high on
Friday, tracking a rally in sterling as talks between the Northern
Irish Democratic Unionist Party and British ministers over Prime
Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal were described as "good".
The domestically-focused FTSE 250 hit its highest since Oct. 10
and ended the day up 1.1 percent, while the blue-chip FTSE 100 rose
0.6 percent for its fifth straight session in the black.
Industrials, consumer and financial stocks together added more
than 140 points to the mid-cap index.
The Northern Irish party that props up May's government said it
had held good talks with ministers on additional assurances that would
be needed for them to back her twice-defeated Brexit deal.
Mid-caps were also lifted by gains in Frankie & Benny's owner
Restaurant Group , which jumped 10 percent after annual pretax
profit exceeded its forecast and recently acquired noodle bar chain
Wagamama posted strong sales.
Ireland's main index , often considered a gauge of Brexit mood,
added 1.2 percent.
Britain's parliament on Thursday approved asking the European
Union for a short delay if lawmakers can agree on a Brexit deal by
March 20, or a longer delay if nothing can be agreed in time.
However, Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said the need for the EU
to unanimously approve any delay meant some uncertainty remained,
drawing some investors to defensive stocks.
British American Tobacco added 2.7 percent and Prudential
rose 2.6 percent.
Credit rating agency Moody's also warned uncertainty around the
Brexit outcome was very high and would continue to weigh on
investment, hiring and spending decisions, which was credit negative
for UK issuers.
Housebuilders , considered to be among most vulnerable to
economic hits stemming from Brexit, rose on the back of Thursday's
vote and after a trading update from mid-cap Berkeley.
Berkeley rose 1.9 percent after it stuck to its profit target
despite softness in Britain's housing market caused by Brexit uncertainties.
Retirement services specialist Just Group slipped for a second
session to close 4.2 percent lower, adding to a 12 percent fall on
Thursday which followed a cash call.
Interserve shares lost more than a third of their value and
were suspended from trading as the heavily indebted outsourcer was set
to go into administration after shareholders rejected a rescue plan.
Asia-exposed financial heavyweights gained on Sino-U.S. trade optimism.
(Reporting by Muvija M and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by
Alison Williams and Kirsten Donovan)
((Muvija.M@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside
U.S. +91 80 6749 3638; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
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