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Recovery optimism pushes UK stocks higher; Smiths Group shines

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(Reuters) – British shares rose on Friday as higher February retail sales added to global economic recovery optimism, while Smiths Group jumped after reporting better-than-expected half-year profit.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.7%, with mining stocks including Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP Group gaining between 2.3% and 2.6%. [MET/L]

Oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also among the biggest boosts, as oil prices rose on fears that a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal would squeeze supplies of crude and refined products. [O/R]

British retail sales rose in February, helped in part by consumers buying outdoor furniture ahead of a partial relaxing of coronavirus restrictions which will allow people to meet in gardens from next week.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index climbed 0.6%, led by industrials stocks.

Smiths Group rose 5%, after the engineering firm issued upbeat forecast for the second half of the fiscal year and reported a better-than-expected profit.

Copper miner Kaz Minerals Plc gained 2.9%, after receiving a final bid worth 4.02 billion pounds ($5.53 billion) from chairman-led Nova Resources.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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