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Europe: Shares rise as voting starts in Britain's EU referendum

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[LONDON] European shares rose on Thursday as firmer copper prices lifted mining stocks, while many investors expected Britain to vote to stay in the European Union.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 and the FTSEurofirst 300 were both up by 0.5 per cent, set for their fifth straight day of gains.

Supermarket Tesco outperformed the broader market with a 3 per cent rise after reporting a second successive quarter of UK underlying sales growth.

Voting got underway on Thursday on Britain's referendum on whether or not to stay in the European Union.

Most opinion polls put the "Leave" and "Remain" camps at neck-and-neck, although bookmakers have consistently given a greater probability towards Britain staying in the EU.

Britain's FTSE 100 equity index was up 0.7 per cent, while sterling also rose on currency markets.