Investing.com - U.K. service sector activity expanded at the fastest rate in eight months in April, fuelling optimism over the health of the economy, industry data showed on Wednesday.
In a report, market research group Markit said the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Services Purchasing Managers Index rose to 59.5 last month from a reading of 58.9 in March. Analysts had expected the index to fall to 58.5 in April.
On the index, a level above 50.0 indicates expansion in the industry, below 50.0 indicates contraction.
Firms linked higher activity to new business wins, improving economic confidence and warm weather.
Employment growth remained strong and sentiment was at an elevated level despite some uncertainty linked to the forthcoming General Election.
Commenting on the report, Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at survey compilers Markit said, "The PMI surveys suggest the economy is showing robust growth momentum, expanding at a rate of 0.8% at the start of the second quarter."
GBP/USD was trading at 1.5189 from around 1.5171 ahead of the release of the data, while EUR/GBP was at 0.7403 from 0.7409 earlier.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained higher. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.45%, the EURO STOXX 50 tacked on 0.7%, France's CAC 40 advanced 0.4%, while Germany's DAX inched up 0.7%.
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