LONDON: UK’s blue-chip FTSE 100 was unchanged on Wednesday as a stronger pound offset gains in miners that rose after BHP Group’s upbeat output forecast and US stimulus bets, with investors eyeing Joe Biden’s inauguration as US President later in the day.
BHP Group Ltd climbed 1.1% after it forecast record iron ore production for fiscal 2021, helped by high prices for the commodity. Other miners Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Glencore rose between 0.5% and 1%.
The FTSE 100 index slipped 0.1%. Among global markets, Asian shares hit a record high after US Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s call for more fiscal support.
The domestically focussed FTSE 250 index added 0.8%.
The FTSE 100 has recorded consistent monthly gains since November, supported by hopes of a vaccine-led economic recovery, but has recently lost steam as tighter business restrictions sparked fears of a slow rebound.
Burberry rose 5% as its underlying sales fell 9% in the three months ended December but the company said it remained confident in the future, buoyed by sales growth of 11% in Asia-Pacific stores.
Global education group Pearson jumped 7.2% after its global online sales grew 18% in 2020, helped by strong enrolments in virtual schools.
WH Smith Plc rose 5.9% to the top of the FTSE 250 index as its trading during Christmas was ahead of its expectations.