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MARKET WRAP: FTSE rally continues, GBP higher ahead of BoE

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Key Points

FTSE 100 closing price of 7,580.93 (+0.6%)
Vodafone higher after results
Ocado benefits from upgrade
GBP up ahead of BoE
Oil higher after OPEC, profit-taking seen after inventory data
Bitcoin quiet as it hits resistance

By Samuel Indyk

Investing.com – The FTSE 100 finished higher on Wednesday as the global stock market rally continued. The blue-chip index traded above 7,600 for the first time since 20th January although failed to close above the key level.

Vodafone (LON:VOD) shares were higher after the company announced total revenue increased 3.7% in the third quarter to €11.684 billion. The market also appeared to be reassured about Vodafone’s commitment to consolidation and M&A in the industry.

“Speculation surrounding a deal with Three and a fresh tie up in Italy is set to intensify with this update, given Vodafone has reiterated its commitment to ‘proactive portfolio actions’ to try and keep shareholders happier,” writes Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HRGV) Senior Investment and Markets Analyst Susannah Streeter. “The fact the company is on track for the full year is also reassuring, and the door seems wide open to future deals.”

Shares in Ocado (LON:OCDO) were higher after the online grocer and technology company was the subject of a double-upgrade from Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN). The Swiss bank upped its rating from ‘underweight’ to ‘overweight’ and lifted its share price target to £17.50.

GBP/USD edged higher amid broad USD weakness and improving risk appetite. Focus is turning to Thursday’s Bank of England rate decision where the central bank is expected to lift its interest rate for the second consecutive month. This would mark the first back-to-back rate increases for the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street since 2004.

WTI and Brent crude futures initially jumped as OPEC+ maintained its commitment to increase oil production by 400,000 barrels per day in March. However, some profit-taking was seen in the wake of the Energy Information Administration’s weekly US inventory data. The EIA said crude oil inventories declined by 1.046 million barrels in the latest week, versus expectations of a build of 1.525 million barrels.

Bitcoin has traded in a tight range after failing to break above downward trendline resistance. The world’s largest crypto has been capped by the trendline on numerous occasions since declining from its record peak in November and a failure to break above could lead to further weakness and a retest of the January lows.

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MARKET WRAP: FTSE rally continues, GBP higher ahead of BoE

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