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FTSE 100 gains, parliamentary votes on Brexit process eyed

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FTSE 100 gains, parliamentary votes on Brexit process eyed
FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Financials and mining stocks supported the British blue-chip index on Wednesday as investors awaited indicative votes on a series of alternate Brexit options in parliament.

The FTSE 100 edged 0.2 percent higher and the FTSE 250, which is more domestically focused, was up by 0.3 percent at 0822 GMT.

Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds were all higher with CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson attributing gains to hopes that lawmakers could agree a possible next course of action which could lead to a softer Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May is also set to address her Conservative lawmakers, possibly to set out a timetable for her departure to win parliamentary support for her controversial Brexit deal after being heavily defeated twice in parliament.

Sterling lost ground amid all the Brexit uncertainty.

But companies with a greater exposure to China including HSBC and Burberry advanced in early deals, while miners also rose as most base metals were higher with investors focussing on tight inventories and the resumption of U.S.-Sino trade talks.

Struggling department store chain Debenhams surged more than 50 percent to 3.7 pence, below the 5 pence a share possible buyout offer from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct. Sports Direct gained nearly 3 percent.

Among midcaps, cyber security firm Avast slipped 5 percent after a heavily discounted share sale while Georgian lender TBC Bank slumped 7 percent.

(Reporting by Muvija M and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir)

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