Softer pound, positive earnings lift FTSE 100

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* Both FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 add 0.4%

March 16 (Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 inched higher on Tuesday, as a weaker pound boosted shares of exporters and a set of positive earnings updates helped lift confidence in the economy’s recovery.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.4%, with healthcare, financials and consumer staples stocks among the top boost.

A softer pound lifted shares of large, dollar-earning companies such as AstraZeneca Plc and British American Tobacco.

Oil heavyweights BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell fell, tracking lower oil prices.

The Bank of England governor said economic growth in the United Kingdom would fall by 4% in the first quarter from the same period last year and by 19% compared to the first three months of 2019.

The domestically focused FTSE 250 index rose 0.4%, led by consumer discretionary stocks.

Specialist pension provider Just Group Plc rose 2.7%, as it reported an 11% rise in annual earnings and flagged progress in shoring up its capital base.

Student housing provider Unite gained 2.2%, after it forecast a return to full occupancy and rental growth for the upcoming academic year saying students were keen to go back to campus life, and reinstated dividend for the pandemic-hit 2020. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)