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FTSE 100 Modestly Higher Despite Weak Data

U.K. stocks eked out modest gains on Thursday, tracking positive cues from other global markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled potential interest rate cuts later this year.

Investors shrugged off a government report showing that U.K. retail sales declined for the second straight month in May.

Retail sales including auto fuel fell 0.5 percent month-on-month in May, as expected, following a 0.1 percent drop. This was the second consecutive decrease in sales volume.

The Bank of England's monetary policy decision is due at 7:00 am ET. The central bank is expected to leave rates unchanged at 0.75 percent and asset purchase target at GBP 435 billion.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 32 points or 0.43 percent at 7,435 after losing half a percent on Wednesday.

Essentra, a supplier of plastic and fibre products, advanced 1.3 percent after it has signed an agreement to divest its Speciality Tapes business, Duraco Specialty Tapes LLC., to certain units of OpenGate Capital.

N Brown Group soared 7.5 percent. After delivering a solid trading performance in the first quarter, the online retailer affirmed its fiscal 2020 expectations.

HomeServe, the home repairs and improvements business, rose over 1 percent after it set out several targets to accelerate growth.

Shares of Dixons Carphone slumped more than 13 percent. The consumer electrical and mobile retailer warned on fiscal 2020 headline profit after reporting a loss in its fiscal 2019.

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