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LONDON: Britain’s FTSE 100 ended higher on Thursday on higher retail stocks as last week saw a jump in footfalls and a weaker pound, while mid-caps rose to their best day in two weeks led by gains in construction company Morgan Sindall.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 ended 0.6% higher, with retailers gaining nearly 2% as shoppers rushed rushed back to clothes and furniture stores last week when they reopened after three months of COVID lockdown restrictions.

The pound fell 0.6%, erasing the week’s gains against the dollar, as investors weighed up the outlook for an economic recovery in Britain.

The domestically-focussed mid-cap index gained 1.3%, with construction company Morgan Sindall up 19.6% as brokerages raised their price targets on the stock after it raised its annual outlook.

The FTSE 100 has gained ~7% year-to-date on optimism that speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and constant policy support from the government would drive a stronger economic recovery, however it has largely underperformed its European peers.

Among other stocks, Russia’s Polymetal International added 2.1% after its first-quarter production grew 3%.

Britain’s Metro Bank gained 0.6% on aims to expand its consumer finance lending tenfold to 2 billion pounds ($2.78 billion), a source familiar with the plan told Reuters, as it seeks to reverse a sharp downturn in its fortunes in the last two years.

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