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Wage growth and US advance lift FTSE higher

Wage growth and US advance lift FTSE higher

The FTSE 100 was back on the front foot today, closing 26 points or 0.3% up at 7,542 after good UK wage growth data and a positive opening on Wall Street.

The better than expected wage growth figures were offset by a jump in unemployment benefit claimants last month, but anxieties over the impact of Brexit on the economy weakened the pound, which traded at $1.3178, boosting shares in blue-chip overseas companies.

Pearson (PSON) added another 3% to 675.6p as the education group continued to rally after telling investors that its US business had started to recover.

But Rio Tinto (RIO) dropped nearly 3% to 110.5p after UK regulators fined the mining group £28 million and the US Securities and Exchange Commission accused it and two former executives of fraud over the delayed write down of its Mozambique acquisition seven years ago.

Reckitt-Benckiser (RB) retreated 2.5% to £69.81 after cutting its full-year sales forecast. It has been a bad year for the consumer goods firm which has been hit by a cyber attack and a safety scandal in South Korea.

Sainsbury’s (SBRY) shed 1.5p to 246.3p on plans to cut 2,000 back office jobs following last year’s takeover of Argos for £1.4 billion.

However, Flybe (FLYB) was the big faller, diving 9p or 20% to 35p after the regional airline warned that higher maintenance costs and intense competition would hit half-year profits.

A strong opening in the US bolstered sentiment in London this afternoon. The Dow Jones industrial average broke over the 23,000 level for the first time, up 0.6% at 23,143, helped by a good earnings report from IT heavyweight IBM. Its shares jumped 9% after resuming growth.

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