April 24, 2018 / 9:04 AM / 10 months ago

Britain's FTSE continues climb as oil stocks jump

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* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct

* Oil stocks lead gains

* Bond proxies recover as yields ease

* Bookmakers on the backfoot over FOBT limit worries

By Kit Rees

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - The UK’s top share index rose on Tuesday, remaining at seven-week highs as oil stocks jumped and pressure on bond proxy-type stocks eased.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.5 percent at 7,433.90 points by 0850 GMT, while mid caps were down 0.2 percent.

The FTSE was set for its sixth day of straight gains, its longest winning streak in nearly one year.

The energy sector was the biggest contributor to the bounce, adding nearly 13 points to the FTSE as shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell climbed 1.7 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.

Energy stocks have been buoyed by a resurgent oil price, which is up at its highest levels since late 2014 on the back of expectations that supplies will tighten with demand strong.

Joining oil stocks at the top of the FTSE were utility companies United Utility Group and Severn Trent, whose shares rose about 1.5 percent as concerns over higher bond yields took a backseat.

Shares in ‘bond proxy’ stocks such as consumer staples and utilities came under pressure on Monday as the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury approached the psychologically significant 3 percent level. Rising bond yields can make these stocks’ reliable dividend streams less attractive to some investors.

However, those concerns eased on Tuesday as focus shifted to upcoming earnings reports, with UK banks set to be in the spotlight later this week.

“As the week now pans out, we’re going to have first quarter numbers from Lloyds, Barclays and RBS ... so if there is to be any sense of optimism coming out of the Q1 earnings season, clearly financials are going to be part of that,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor.

Shares in bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair brought up the rear on the FTSE with a 3.9 percent fall, while mid cap peers William Hill dropped 13.8 percent and GVC Holdings fell nearly 7 percent following reports that the UK government will cut the top limit on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to 2 pounds sterling.

“While this is bad news for the multi-channel operators, we suspect the market may be equally concerned by the suggestion in the same article that any tax shortfall could be offset by gaming tax increases elsewhere,” analysts at Davy said in a note, referring to an article in The Times. (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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