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Recovery optimism pushes UK stocks higher; Smiths Group shines

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* FTSE 100 up 0.7%, FTSE 250 adds 0.6%

March 26 (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%.

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.

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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