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FTSE 100 Edges Higher In Cautious Trade

U.K. stocks bucked a weak regional trend to edge higher on Thursday ahead of upcoming U.S. inflation data and the European Central Bank meeting.

The G7 summit officially gets underway on Friday, with issues such as the coronavirus pandemic, climate and trade likely to top the agenda.

The benchmark FTSE 100 rose 18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,098 after ending 0.2 percent lower on Wednesday.

Energy stocks fell as oil prices eased on data showing an increase in U.S. gasoline and diesel supplies. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell both dropped around half a percent.

BT Group shares jumped 3.2 percent after U.S. firm Altice Group said it had taken a 12.1 percent stake worth about 2.2 billion pounds in the U.K.'s largest broadband and mobile operator.

Vehicle marketplace Auto Trader surged 6.7 percent. The company gave an upbeat outlook after a tough year.

In economic releases, U.K. house prices continued to increase in May driven by robust demand and shortfall of new instructions, survey results from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed.

The house price balance rose to 83 percent in May from 76 percent in April. This was the fourth successive month in which upward pressure on house price seemingly intensified.

A net 45 percent of respondents expect house prices to rise in the near-term, which was virtually unchanged from the net 47 percent in April.

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