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Strong Earnings Pull FTSE 100 Higher Ahead of BoE Meet, Election Day

The blue-chip index rose 0.3%, with fashion retailer Next gaining 2.1% after it raised its profit outlook for the 2021-22 year for the second time in two months.

Engineer Melrose gained 1.2% after it said it was performing “modestly” ahead of expectations, with operating margins in the first quarter improving faster than expected.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.2%.

The BoE is expected to raise 2021 GDP forecast sharply from its previous estimate of 5% growth at 1100 GMT, and it might start to slow its pandemic emergency support.

Voters in England, Scotland and Wales head to the polls on Thursday in a series of different elections, with a vote for the Scottish parliament and one for a seat in Westminster in focus for clues to Britain’s future political landscape.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)