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FTSE 100 gains on sterling slide; Brexit deadlock intact

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FTSE 100 gains on sterling slide; Brexit deadlock intact
FILE PHOTO: 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 top share index bounced on Thursday, helped by exporters, after the pound fell following more bad Brexit news for Prime Minister Theresa May, while miners and tobacco firms also firmed.

The FTSE 100, which earns more than two-thirds of its earnings in U.S. dollars, jumped 0.7 percent and the FTSE 250 added 0.4 percent by 0822 GMT.

Sterling came under renewed pressure after May failed to sway hardline opponents of her European Union divorce deal with an offer to quit, while none of eight indicative options to break the Brexit deadlock won majority support in parliament.

International companies, which typically gain from weakness in the local currency, led early gainers, among them pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.

Chemicals group Johnson Matthey added 2 percent to be among top blue-chip gainers after signing a deal with Nemaska Lithium for the supply of lithium hydroxide, which is used to make battery cathode materials.

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands advanced 2.5 percent and British American Tobacco climbed 2 percent, with a trader citing rating upgrades by brokerage Citi on both stocks.

Miners saw their fourth straight session of gains after a report that U.S.-China trade talks have made progress in all areas.

Weighing on the index were asset manager Schroders and Prudential, which dipped on ex-dividend trading.

The small-cap index underperformed with some steep news-related moves.

Outsourcer Mitie slumped 8 percent after a warning that the company’s order book was set to weaken as clients steered away from entering longer term contracts.

The dip placed Mitie on course for its worst day since last September.

Britain’s largest listed funeral services provider Dignity dipped 2.5 percent after the country’s competition watchdog launched an investigation into the sector.

(Reporting by Muvija M and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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