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FTSE rallies broadly on robust data, Syria policy doubts

By Tricia Wright

LONDON (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 bounced back on Monday as a delay in potential U.S. military action against Syria alongside robust economic data from China and the UK helped drive a broad-based equity market rally.

The FTSE 100 ended up 93.26 points, or 1.5 percent, at 6,506.19 points, its highest close since August 14, led by miners, telecoms and banks, with the index more than recovering from last week's loss.

The energy sector was the main faller, down in tandem with oil prices, after U.S. President Barack Obama said at the weekend that any punitive strikes against Syria would wait until lawmakers had a chance to vote.

Mining stocks rose 2.8 percent - their biggest one-day percentage rise in just under a month - as data showed manufacturing activity growing in top metals consumer China for the first time in months in August.

In Britain, manufacturing accelerated again in August and new orders and output rose at their fastest pace in nearly 20 years.

"The pull-back (on Syria) that we've seen from politicians ... has allowed some of that negative sentiment to dissipate. Investors have been able to focus a little bit more on the fundamentals," Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays, said.

Vodafone was up 3.4 percent, adding about 13 points the FTSE, with the telecoms group and its U.S. partner Verizon Communications expected to announce a $130 billion deal that will give the U.S. firm complete control of Verizon Wireless, subject to final board approval, people familiar with the matter said.

Trading volume in Vodafone was robust, at around twice its 90-day daily average, against just 81 percent on the UK benchmark where volume was thin on Monday as the U.S. stock market was shut for a national holiday.

Analysts said the FTSE 100's next moves will likely be dictated by Friday's U.S. jobs report, which will put the focus squarely back on to the debate over when the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back its huge bond buying programme which has fuelled a rally in world equities over the past year.

"It's really still all about (stimulus) tapering - it's so difficult to know how to play it," Chris Beauchamp, equity analyst at IG Index, said.

"I hate to say it but I think we might have seen a lot of the excitement for the week already, at least until non-farms."

(Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Ron Askew)