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FTSE 100 Inches Higher As Inflation Hits Two-year Low

U.K. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, with upbeat earnings updates from the likes of Smurfit Kappa as well as calls for a delay in Britain's departure from the EU helping underpin investor sentiment.

Meanwhile, the pound retreated from its early highs after a government report showed the U.K. inflation rate fell to 1.8 percent in January, the lowest in two years.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 32 points or 0.45 percent at 7,165 in opening deals after closing up 0.1 percent the previous day.

Housebuilders led the surge on hopes that the U.K.'s exit from the European Union could be delayed, if a EU divorce deal agreeable by all parties is not reached by March 29.

Barratt Developments rose 1 percent, Persimmon advanced 1.7 percent and Taylor Wimpey added 1.4 percent.

Construction company Galliford Try soared 6.3 percent after it posted a record half-year profit.

Packaging company Smurfit Kappa rallied 3 percent. The company posted strong full-year results and said it plans to hike its shareholder dividend by 12 percent. DS Smith shares jumped 4.8 percent.

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