Wednesday, 25 July 2018

FTSE edges up helped by banks, miners

MILAN (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index rose on Tuesday as gains in banks and mining companies offset weakness in energy stocks.

Trading activity was lackluster with the FTSE 100 remaining within the tight range it has been moving in over the last few weeks due to uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit talks.

By 0830 GMT, the FTSE was up 0.4 percent, while the mid-cap index added 0.3 percent, helped by some positive earnings updates.

“There doesn’t look like there’s much on the agenda to help the FTSE with its momentum-problem, unless, perhaps, the pound suffers in the aftermath of the day’s US... PMIs” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

Banks were supported by a surge in government bond yields on exceptions over monetary policy tightening in the United States and Japan with HSBC (HSBA.L), Barclays (BARC.L) and Lloyds (LLOY.L) trading 0.7-1.4 percent higher.

Mining companies were also providing support with heavyweights Rio Tinto (RIO.L), Glencore (GLEN.L) and BHP (BLT.L) up more than 1 percent, as copper prices rebounded on concerns over possible disruptions to supply from the world’s biggest copper mine.

Elsewhere price moves were driven by broker recommendations. Royal Mail (RMG.L) rose 1.9 percent after HSBC upgraded the stock to buy from hold, while TV firm ITV gained 0.8 percent following a JP Morgan price target upgrade.

On the mid cap index, Spectris (SXS.L) fell 8 percent with analysts disappointed the electrical components supplier provided no further details on cost saving programmes.

Superdry (SDRY.L) was another big faller, down 6.9 percent after co-founder Julian Dunkerton sold down its stake in the fashion retailer, prompting Liberum to cut its rating to hold.

Shares in soft drinks company Britvic (BVIC.L) and lender Close Brothers (CBRO.L) both rose more than 2 percent after well-received trading updates.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni

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