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FTSE breaks three-day losing streak; Vodafone hits multi-year lows

FTSE breaks three-day losing streak; Vodafone hits multi-year lows
The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville   -   Copyright  TOBY MELVILLE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – London’s blue-chip stocks were higher on Friday, snapping three sessions of losses, fuelled by a rally in mining, oil and banking stocks, while heavyweight Vodafone fell again and M&A news triggered a stout rally in pub chain Fuller, Smith & Turner.

FTSE 100 was 0.4 percent higher by 0826 GMT, underperforming its European peers as heavyweight Vodafone dragged and the rally in sterling weighed on the exporter-heavy index.

The midcap index gained 0.1 percent Both indexes were still on course for their first weekly losses in 2019 as worries about a slowdown in the global economy and a buoyant pound took a toll.

Miners were among the biggest blue-chip gainers buoyed by gains in London copper and gold supported by a weaker dollar.

Fresnillo rose nearly 3 percent, while Glencore, Antofagasta, Anglo American all gained ground.

Oil majors were lifted by higher crude prices as turmoil in Venezuela renewed concerns that its exports could be disrupted.

Brexit headlines still drove moves although nothing significant has transpired since British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit draft deal fell through.

Sterling rallied to 11-week highs on a media report that Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party has privately decided to back May’s Brexit deal next week if it includes a clear time limit to the Irish backstop.

While the report added fuel to hopes the country will avoid a no-deal Brexit, Brussels has consistently said it won’t put an end date on the backstop.

“It’s not immediately apparent we are any further forward, however markets still appear to be pricing in the prospect that something will be agreed to avoid a “no deal” Brexit,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Vodafone was 1 percent lower, extending losses from the last session, after it reported a slowdown in key revenue measure in the third quarter.

Smallcaps outperformed with a 0.3 percent gain led by Fuller Smith & Turner that surged 21 percent to a more than 2-1/2-year high after agreeing to sell its beer business to a unit of Asahi.

Shares in AIM-listed Earthport added nearly one-fourth in value after U.S.-based Mastercard outbid Visa with a 33 pence per share buyout offer. Shares in Earthport were 24.1 percent higher at their highest in over three years by 0829 GMT.

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Josephine Mason)

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