Investing.com - U.K. service sector activity expanded at the fastest rate in seven months in March, fuelling optimism over the health of the economy, industry data showed on Tuesday.
In a report, market research group Markit said the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Services Purchasing Managers Index increased to 58.9 last month from a reading of 56.7 in February. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 57.0 in March.
On the index, a level above 50.0 indicates expansion in the industry, below 50.0 indicates contraction.
Growth in activity was attributed by survey respondents to a wider economic recovery, improving confidence, winning new customers and new product development.
Commenting on the report, Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at survey compilers Markit said, "The three PMI surveys collectively indicate that the economy grew by 0.7% in the first quarter, reviving from the slowdown seen late last year."
GBP/USD was trading at 1.4876 from around 1.4900 ahead of the release of the data, while EUR/GBP was at 0.7298 from 0.7292 earlier.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained higher. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.15%, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 1.05%, France's CAC 40 advanced 1.2%, while Germany's DAX rallied 1%.
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