UK's FTSE 100 nears 6-month high as Powell signals slower hikes

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FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 adds 1.2%

Dec 1 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 index climbed towards a six-month high on Thursday, extending a strong performance from last month, as investors seized on hints that the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back the pace of its interest rate hikes.

The blue-chip index .FTSE edged up 0.2% by 0814 GMT, holding near its strongest level since June 8, although sluggish oil stocks .FTNMX601010 limited further gains.

The domestically focussed FTSE 250 .FTMC jumped 1.2%.

Wall Street's main indexes rallied overnight, with the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX closing 3% higher, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell opened the door to a slowdown in the pace of monetary tightening.

Bucking the positive mood, oil stocks .FTNMX601010 fell 1.5% as crude prices dipped with uncertainty lingering ahead of Sunday's OPEC+ meeting.

Shares of education group Pearson PSON.L fell 3.5% after Exane BNP Paribas downgraded the stock rating to "neutral" from "outperform".
Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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