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FTSE 100 extends rally as oil, miners gain; Ocado hits life high

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FTSE 100 extends rally as oil, miners gain; Ocado hits life high
A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Britain’s FTSE 100 continued its winning streak as oil majors and miners boosted the index and Ocado climbed to a life high after posting higher first-quarter retail sales.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.5 percent. The index held on to its five-month high and rose for the seventh straight session, it’s longest streak of gains since May 2017.

The domestically-focused FTSE 250 was up 0.1 percent by 0936 GMT as investors waited for further Brexit developments after the speaker of Britain’s parliament said Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal could not be voted on again unless a different proposal was submitted.

Investors also kept tabs on the two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting which begins on Tuesday and on sterling, which fell after Tuesday’s Brexit update but later recovered losses.

“You must say the sanguine reaction in currency markets reflects the fact that no one really knows where this leaves the Brexit story,” Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson said.

On Tuesday, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay cast doubt over a vote this week on May’s deal – already rejected twice by parliament – but indicated the government still planned a third vote.

Heavyweight oil majors helped lift the main index as supply cuts by OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela buttressed prices, while miners rose on China’s plan to cut tax for manufacturers from April.

Chilean copper miner Antofagasta advanced 4.4 percent and hit a seven month high as a higher-than-expected dividend payout overshadowed a drop in annual core earnings.

Online supermarket Ocado, added 3.7 percent to hit an all time high after posting a double-digit jump in first-quarter retail sales despite growth being hit by last month’s fire at a large distribution centre.

Rating actions drove some moves. Drugmaker Hikma was 1.8 percent higher after a rating upgrade from Citi and positive comments on growth prospects from Jefferies and event manager and publisher Informa rose 2.1 percent after a Morgan Stanley upgrade.

Sainsbury’s edged 2.2 percent higher. The Financial Times reported on Monday that Britain’s No. 2 supermarket group and Walmart’s Asda would detail price cuts in response to a negative provisional view of their proposed tie-up by Britain’s competition watchdog.

Mid-cap iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo skidded 9 percent after a review of its donations to a charity set up by the company identified additional discrepancies, forcing it to delay the release of its 2018 results.

However, IT firm Softcat jumped 5.9 percent as it added more customers and said its annual results would be marginally ahead of expectations.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir and Janet Lawrence)

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