* FTSE 100 stretches winning streak to seven sessions
* FTSE 250 up 0.3 pct
* Oil, miners boost main index
* Ocado shrugs off Andover fire to hit life high
* Antofagasta rises on higher-than-expected dividend payout
(Adds news items, updates to closing prices)
By Shashwat Awasthi and Yadarisa Shabong
March 19 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 extended its winning
streak to seven sessions on Tuesday as miners and oil majors boosted
the index and Ocado climbed to an all-time high after posting higher
first-quarter retail sales.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent. The index held on to its
five-month high and is now on its longest streak of gains since May 2017.
The domestically-focused FTSE 250 was up 0.3 percent as
investors waited for further Brexit developments with reports that
Prime Minister Theresa May would ask the European Union to delay
Brexit by at least three months.
May's Brexit plans were derailed after the speaker of Britain's
parliament said on Monday that her deal could not be voted on again
after two thumping defeats unless a different proposal was submitted.
Sterling, which fell after Tuesday's Brexit update but later
recovered losses, remained steady as investors awaited further clarity
on the state of Britain's divorce from the EU.
"You must say the sanguine reaction in currency markets
reflects the fact that no one really knows where this leaves the
Brexit story," Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson said.
Heavyweight oil majors helped lift the main index as supply cuts
by OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela buttressed
prices, while miners rose on China's plan to cut tax for
manufacturers from April.
Online supermarket Ocado , added 5.4 percent to hit an all-time
peak after posting a double-digit jump in first-quarter retail sales,
despite growth being hit by last month's fire at a large distribution
Chilean copper miner Antofagasta advanced 2.8 percent, touching
a seven-month high, as a higher-than-anticipated dividend payout
overshadowed a drop in annual core earnings.
Drugmaker Hikma was 2.5 percent higher after a rating upgrade
from Citi and positive comments on growth prospects from Jefferies,
while events manager and publisher Informa rose 3.7 percent on its
best day in nearly 18 months after a Morgan Stanley upgrade.
Sainsbury's ended 0.9 percent higher. Britain's No. 2
supermarket chain and Walmart's Asda committed to deliver 1 billion
pounds of annual price cuts in an attempt to salvage their proposed
merger after being dealt a potentially fatal blow by the country's
Mid-cap oilfield and engineering services provider Wood Group
tumbled 8.1 percent after warning that its deleveraging plan would be
more gradual than originally anticipated.
But, TP ICAP , the world's largest interdealer broker, climbed
4.9 percent higher on its best day since August 2017 after its
full-year underlying pretax profit beat analysts' estimates.
(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru;
Editing by Keith Weir and Mark Heinrich)
((Shashwat.Awasthi@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223 3403;
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