Investing.com - Service sector activity in the U.K. expanded at the fastest rate since December 2006 last month, fuelling optimism over the country's economic outlook, industry data showed on Monday.
In a report, market research group Markit said the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Services Purchasing Managers Index surged to 60.2 in July from a reading of 56.9 in June.
Analysts had expected the index to ease up to 57.2 last month.
On the index, a level above 50.0 indicates expansion in the industry, below 50.0 indicates contraction.
Commenting on the report, Paul Smith, Senior Economist at survey compilers Markit said, "Although an early call on one month's data, the forward-looking elements from the survey point to a further strengthening of GDP in Q3 as the UK heads towards escape velocity and self-sustaining economic expansion."
Following the release of that data, the pound added to gains against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD climbing 0.42% to trade at 1.5355.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained higher. London's FTSE 100 added 0.35%, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.3%, France's CAC 40 gained 0.2%, while Germany's DAX inched up 0.2%.
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