• UK lowers stake in NatWest, shares climb
  • StanChart gains after BofA upgrade
  • Dechra Pharma down after profit warning
  • U.S. debt ceiling talks on tap
  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 off 0.1%

May 22 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 rose on Monday, lifted by financial stocks, though lingering concerns over the U.S. debt ceiling impasse kept sentiment fragile while Dechra Pharmaceuticals slumped after issuing a profit warning.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) rose 0.2%, gaining for the third straight session.

British banks (.FTNMX301010) added 1.0% as Standard Chartered (STAN.L) rose 3.0% after Bank of America upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral".

State-backed NatWest Group (NWG.L) rose 1.2% after it agreed to buy back some shares from the government, edging closer towards private ownership 15 years after it was bailed out during the global financial crisis.

The FTSE 250 midcap index (.FTMC) slipped 0.1% as Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH.L) slid 13.0% after the veterinary healthcare firm cut expectations for its annual underlying operating profit.

U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be meeting at 2130 GMT to discuss raising the federal government's debt ceiling, just 10 days before the United States could face an unprecedented default.

"Markets are quite happy to see this mainly as political posturing, but it's always in the back of investors' minds that broadly, there's progress expected towards the debt ceiling deal," said Giles Coghlan, chief market analyst at HYCM.

British equities have traded in tight bands since late April as investors digested mixed corporate earnings, a weakening outlook for commodity-linked stocks and a standoff over the U.S. debt ceiling deal.

Ireland-listed shares of Ryanair Holdings (RYA.I) gained 1.3% after the budget airline posted almost record earnings for its last financial year, lifting the benchmark Irish stock exchange (.ISEQ) up 0.4%.

Britain's travel and leisure sector (.FTNMX405010) gained 1.1%.

Investors will be on the lookout for a plethora of economic data this week to gauge the state of the British economy and whether the Bank of England will resort to more interest rate hikes.

Reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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