AstraZeneca, Smurfit Kappa boost FTSE 100 higher

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* FTSE 100 up 0.4%, FTSE 250 adds 0.3%

April 30 (Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 edged higher on Friday, boosted by earnings updates from AstraZeneca and Smurfit Kappa, while optimism around a speedy recovery from pandemic-led crash set the blue-chip index for its biggest monthly gain since November 2020.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.4%, with AstraZeneca gaining 2.6% after it forecast higher sales in the second half of the year.

UK-listed shares of Europe’s largest paper packaging producer Smurfit Kappa Group jumped 2.7% after it posted 6% increase in first-quarter revenue on strong packaging demand.

The index was further supported by tobacco makers British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands which rose after their peer Swedish Match reported upbeat quarterly profit.

The domestically focused midcap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.3%. Both the indexes have gained nearly 4% each in April and are tracking their third consecutive monthly gain so far this year. (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)