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FTSE 100 Modestly Higher Ahead Of ECB Meeting

U.K. shares were modestly higher on Thursday as trade war fears eased somewhat and investors looked ahead to the European Central Bank's closely watched policy decision later in the day for direction.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 11 points or 0.15 percent at 7,168 in late opening deals after gaining 0.2 percent in the previous session.

Lloyds Banking Group rose 0.4 percent after launching a share buyback program of up to 1 billion pounds.

Insurer Aviva lost 2 percent despite reporting a 2 percent rise in FY17 operating profit and enhancing dividend payment.

Engineering group GKN gained 0.4 percent. The company expects to deliver 153 million pounds of recurring annual cash benefit from the end of 2020 by implementing cash improvement initiative within the Driveline business.

BHP Billiton fell 3.7 percent on going ex-dividend.

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