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Thur City brief: M&S springs market rabbit

Stocks prepared for the long weekend with strong gains in the retail sector following a decent quarter from Marks & Spencer which returned to non-food growth.

M&S finally drew a line under three years of declining general merchandise sales which helped give its shares a boost, closing up 4.43% or 23.5p at 554p.

Other retailers were bought higher, including Debenhams up 2p at 77.2p and Next up 55p at 7,055p.

The monthly Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index released Thursday morning declined 2.3 pts in March to 57.8, having reached a four-month high in February, and remained below 61.8, the average for 2014 as a whole.

The FTSE100 kept up the positive start to the new quarter ending the session up 23.96 at 6,833.46.

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