* FTSE 100 up 0.1 pct
* Miners, energy lend support
* DCC gains after agrees to buy Shell assets
* Old Mutual top FTSE loser on South Africa woes
(Adds details, closing prices)
By Kit Rees
LONDON, April 5 British shares edged higher on
Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session as
heavyweight mining and oil stocks rallied, while support
services firm DCC also gained after agreeing to buy a
business in Hong Kong and Macau.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended up 0.1 percent,
outperforming the broader European market thanks to its large
proportion of resources-related stocks.
Miners were among the standout performers, with BHP Billiton
and Antofagasta both gaining more than 1.5
percent as copper prices traded higher.
BHP Billiton, the world's biggest exporter of coal for
making steel also saw support after declaring force majeure for
coal deliveries from its mines in Australia's Bowen Basin after
a cyclone damaged railway lines.
Disruption from Cyclone Debbie has spurred worries of
tighter supply, sending coking coal futures higher.
Oil stocks also lent support, but they pared some gains
after crude prices eased from one-month highs, as support from
an outage at the largest UK North Sea oilfield was offset by a
surprise increase in U.S. crude inventories.
BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose 0.7 and 0.3
percent respectively. Even though they came off earlier highs,
energy stocks remained the biggest contributor to gains in the
DCC was also among the biggest gainers, ending up 1.7
percent and trading close to record highs after agreeing to buy
Royal Dutch Shell's liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business in
Hong Kong and Macau for an enterprise value of $145 million.
"It ... provides a good platform for further growth in the
Asian LPG market as it pursues its strategy to be a global
leader in its industry," analysts at UBS said in a note.
South Africa-exposed insurer Old Mutual was the
biggest FTSE loser, down 4.4 percent, tracking a further fall in
the rand after the ruling African National Congress Party (ANC)
rejected calls for President Jacob Zuma to quit.
Specialty chemicals company Croda dropped 3.6
percent after Credit Suisse downgraded its rating to
"underperform" from "neutral".
"We believe Croda shares are trading at a premium to fair
value given operational headwinds in 2017 and structural
long-term pressure in Personal Care as the business lifecycle
matures," analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note.
Outside of the blue chips, shares in Allied Minds
lost a third of their value in their biggest one-day loss on
record after the tech and life sciences-focused incubator cut
funding for seven of its portfolio companies.
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni;
Editing by Alison Williams and Mark Potter)