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Europe: Stocks rise as Britain braces for Brexit

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[LONDON] Europe's main stock markets rose in cautious opening trading on Wednesday, as Britain prepared to fire the starting gun on its exit from the European Union.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.4 per cent to 7,372.79 points ahead of the formal delivery of the British government's Brexit letter to the EU this afternoon.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.4 per cent to 12,195.86 points, and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced by almost 0.4 per cent to 5,063.70.

"Article 50 will be triggered today, beginning the long, hard process of extricating the UK from more than four decades of EU legislation," said ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson.

Nine months since the shock British referendum vote to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May will activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, meaning Britain is set to leave the EU in 2019.

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May has already signed the Brexit letter, which will be delivered to EU president Donald Tusk later Wednesday.


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