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FTSE 100 edges up on oil strength ahead of another key Brexit vote

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FTSE 100 edges up on oil strength ahead of another key Brexit vote
FILE PHOTO: People walk past the London Stock Exchange Group offices in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  TOBY MELVILLE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Britain’s main stock index inched higher on Wednesday, led by gains in oil majors although investors remained cautious after Prime Minister Theresa May’s revised Brexit deal was defeated in parliament on Tuesday.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent and the FTSE 250 was roughly flat by 0835 GMT.

Oil heavyweights Shell and BP boosted the main bourse as oil prices rose on ongoing supply cuts from producer group OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

The index was also supported by Standard Life Aberdeen which rose 3 percent after posting full-year results and saying that it was doing away with a dual-CEO management structure.

Lawmakers voted against May’s amended Brexit deal by 391 to 242 on Tuesday, forcing parliament to decide whether to back a no-deal Brexit or seek a last-minute delay to the process.

Parliament will vote later on Wednesday on whether to leave the bloc with no deal. If a no-deal exit plan is rejected, a vote on Thursday will decide whether to seek to extend the Brexit deadline.

“While this (extending the deadline) is something that might well be easy to achieve as it kicks the can down the road, it is by no means certain that the EU might feel obliged to accommodate it, if the reason behind the request doesn’t have an endpoint goal behind it,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Gains on the main index were limited by a fall in financial and industrial stocks, as well as retailer Kingfisher, which slipped 2.3 percent after a Stifel downgrade.

Cyber security firm Avast dropped 4.7 percent to the bottom of the mid-cap index after its long-time CEO stepped down and it reported marginally lower-than-expected adjusted revenue and earnings in its first annual results since listing last May.

Outsourcing firm Capita fell 2.5 percent after it said late on Tuesday that Australia’s Corporate Travel Management had made an unsolicited bid for its travel business.

But construction group Balfour Beatty added 2.5 percent after its 2018 profit rose.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir)

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