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FTSE 100 Edges Higher On Strong Earnings

U.K. shares erased early losses to edge higher on Tuesday after a government report showed U.K. wages grew faster than inflation for the first time in almost a year in February, helping cement expectations for a rate hike at the next MPC meeting in May. The jobless rate in the month ticked down to 4.2 percent from 4.3 percent previously.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent at 7,212 in late opening deals after declining 0.9 percent on Monday.

The pound fell slightly after rallying to its highest dollar level since the Brexit referendum in 2016 earlier in the day on hopes of a smooth British exit from the European Union.

Associated British Foods jumped 3.4 percent as it posted three percent growth in revenue in the 24 weeks to 3 March despite a challenging retail environment.

Breedon Group soared 6 percent. The construction materials firm has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Lagan Group (Holdings) Limited, a construction materials business based in Belfast, for a cash consideration of £455 million on a cash- and debt-free basis.

Ashmore Group also climbed 6 percent. The emerging markets-focused asset manager has reported a 10 percent growth in its third-quarter assets under management.

Melrose Industries advanced 1.7 percent after saying it had received acceptances of its offer from shareholders who hold approximately 81.80 percent of the voting rights of GKN.

JD Sports Fashion rallied 6.2 percent after its preliminary profit before tax for the 53 weeks ended 3 February 2018 increased by 24 percent.

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