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Oil stocks and miners boost Britain's main index to six-month high

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By Reuters
Oil stocks and miners boost Britain's main index to six-month high
FILE PHOTO: Traders work at their desks at CMC Markets in London, Britain, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley   -   Copyright  JOHN SIBLEY(Reuters)

(Reuters) – London’s main stock index clawed its way to a six-month high on Friday, as hopes of a resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute buoyed oil majors and mining heavyweights, while investors digested news of a potentially longer Brexit extension.

The blue chip FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent while the more domestically focused FTSE 250 of mid cap stocks was little changed by 0717 GMT.

The pound firmed after news that European Council President Donald Tusk is likely to offer a 12-month flexible extension to the UK’s EU exit date, which at present stands at April 12 if no deal is agreed.

Meanwhile, companies with a greater international presence edged higher in early deals on expectations that a Sino-U.S. trade dispute could be nearing an end, with President Donald Trump saying a deal could be reached in about four weeks.

Oil majors Shell and BP were the biggest support to the main index, followed by miners which firmed as most London industrial metals rose.

Among midcaps, power generator ContourGlobal advanced 4 percent after hiking its dividend for 2018 and guiding for a higher core profit in 2019.

By contrast transport company Stagecoach slumped 6 percent, making it the biggest FTSE 250 decliner, after brokerage Jefferies cut its rating and flagged caution on cost inflation headwinds and overcapacity.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by David Holmes)