LONDON: London's FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday, supported by a set of strong corporate earnings led by Barclays, although the gains were capped by weakness in heavyweight mining stocks.
Shares of the British lender jumped 5.0% to the top of the FTSE 100 after its first-half profit nearly quadrupled, as it followed Wall Street rivals in reaping bumper investment banking fees from frenzied dealmaking.
"These look like a decent set of numbers, with the investment bank doing most of the heavy-lifting. On the domestic front, UK businesses and consumers come across as somewhat cautious in their spending patterns, which hopefully will change as the economy continues its reopening process," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 inched 0.2% higher with Barclays, St James Place and Fresnillo being the top boost on positive earnings updates.
However, miners BHP Group, Anglo American, Glencore and Rio Tinto limited the FTSE 100's gains.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 0.7% and was just short of record highs, led by travel stocks .
Wizz Air jumped 4% to be the top mid-cap gainer after it said it expected to ramp up capacity to between 90% and 100% of pre-pandemic levels this month and next, as summer demand for European travel grows.
Wednesday's gains bring the FTSE 100's jump so far this year to 8.3%, underperforming the 12.3% climb in mid-cap stocks in the same period as inflation concerns and surging local COVID-19 infections drag investor sentiment. Among other earnings reports, Lloyd's of London insurer Lancashire rose 3.2% after it posted a pre-tax profit of $54.1 million in the first half, helped by rising premium rates. Aston Martin added 3.6% after it reported a 224% increase in sales to its dealers, boosted by its first sport utility vehicle.