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FTSE 100 boosted by tobacco stocks

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The UK market closed higher on Thursday, with cigarette companies helping to support the market.

The FTSE 100 index ended the day up 42.85 points at 7,396.98.

Shares in Imperial Brands rose 2.8% after it sold down some of its stake in Spanish logistics firm Logista. Rival cigarette firm BAT rose 1.9%.

Insurer Direct Line was boosted by a change to the formula for calculating personal injury payments.

The government had originally proposed cutting the Ogden discount rate on personal injury claims from 2.75% to minus 0.75%. However, it is now suggesting a rate of 0%-1%.

Shares in Direct Line, which had said the original plan would cost it up to £230m, rose 2.15%.

In the FTSE 250, shares in Bovis Homes jumped 10.4% after the housebuilder announced plans to return £180m to shareholders through special dividends, and also scaled back the number of homes it planned to build each year.

ZPG – the owner of the Zoopla and uSwitch websites – was up 2.1% after it announced the purchase of comparison website Money.co.uk in a £140m deal.

But shares in Capita fell 2.4% as the company marked its 2016 operating profits lower after adopting new accounting standards.

Capita said its 2016 operating profit was now £335m, down from its previous estimate of £481m.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.4% against the dollar to $1.3095 but fell 0.5% against the euro to 1.0889 euros.

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