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FTSE 100 Rises As Inflation Worries Ease

U.K. stocks eked out modest gains on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reaffirmed interest rates would stay low, calming market fears around a potential spike in inflation.

The benchmark FTSE 100 rose 29 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,688 after ending half a percent higher the previous day.

Packaging company DS Smith jumped 8 percent on reports that rival Mondi Plc was exploring a takeover. Shares of the latter advanced 1.6 percent.

Standard Chartered shares fell nearly 5 percent after the bank posted a 57 percent fall in annual profit, missing analyst estimates.

Miner Anglo American jumped 4 percent after its 2020 underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization beat estimates.

Associated British Foods gained 0.7 percent. The food processing company expects half year sales and underlying operating profit to be lower than last year.

Aerospace company BAE Systems rose about 1 percent after announcing a strong set of results.

In economic releases, business optimism improved among U.K. business and professional services in the three months to February, while morale weakened in consumer services, the latest quarterly Service Sector Survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed.

Sentiment among business and professional services improved at the strongest pace since August 2015. The balance advanced to +23 percent from -21 percent.

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