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* FTSE 100 up 0.4 percent; rallies after Wednesday's dip
* Retailers lead, with Morrisons and Ocado in talks
* Home Retail gains as lifts forecasts again
By David Brett
LONDON, March 14 Retailers led a rebound on
Britain's top share index early on Thursday, with Wm Morrison
Supermarkets, Ocado and Home Retail all higher after strong
By 0851 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 26.04 points, or
0.4 percent, at 6,507.54, having shed 0.5 percent on Wednesday,
and after the U.S. Dow Jones hit all-time highs, rising
for the ninth consecutive session following better than expected
retail sales data.
"Markets saw their one-day wobble and have got back to
winning ways and once again any weakness was greeted with buying
on the dips," Jawaid Afsar, sales trader at SecurEquity, said.
Despite the FTSE index being at 5-year highs and up 15.6
percent since November, technical analysts said that recent
price action - the FTSE bounced convincingly off intraday lows
on Wednesday - showed investors remained willing to buy back
into the market on any sign of weakness.
"A clearer picture may emerge after the (quarterly options)
expiry tomorrow and it looks like any correction will be
shallow, the trend still is up despite the dizzy heights the
markets have reached so far," SecurEquity's Afsar said.
Retailers were among Thursday's top performers.
Britain's fourth-largest supermarket Wm Morrison
climbed 4.3 percent after raising its dividend by 10 percent and
announcing talks with online grocer Ocado over an
online food operation is to launch in 2014.
"The potential tie-up with Ocado could conceivably help
Morrisons to make up some lost ground," Richard Hunter, Head of
Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said.
Ocado, which has been the talk of bid rumours involving
Morrisons as is one of the most shorted stocks on the FTSE, also
reported a strong rise in recent sales and jumped 9.7 percent.
Britain's biggest household goods retailer Home Retail
rose 13.5 percent after it hiked its profit forecast
for the second time in 2013.
Yield-hungry investors continued to snap up shares in
Prudential, up 3.9 percent after the insurer ramped up
its dividend by 15.9 percent on Wednesday.
(Reporting by David Brett; Editing by John Stonestreet)