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Financial stocks lift FTSE 100 higher; resource stocks cap gains

Financial stocks lift FTSE 100 higher; resource stocks cap gains 1

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 closed higher on Wednesday as gains in financial shares outweighed weakness in resource stocks, while miner Rio Tinto hit the bottom of the index on a downbeat earnings update.

The blue-chip index rose 0.4%, with banks up 2.5% leading gains, while consumer staple names British American Tobacco, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser Group rose between 1.1% and 2.9% and were among top gainers.

Further advances were capped by a 3.6% dip in mining shares, while energy shares fell 0.8%.

Rio Tinto fell 4.8% to the bottom of the index after the iron ore major posted lower-than-expected shipments in the first quarter and warned of risks from high inflation, COVID-19 lockdowns in China and a prolonged Russia-Ukraine war.

“The markets seem to be stuck in a bit of a holding pattern. They’ve absorbed the shock of Ukrainian conflict and seemingly shrugged it off, while also reacting calmly to an escalating cost of living crisis and new COVID disruption in China,” AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said.

“It feels like something will have to give at some stage but when that might be and what the catalyst could be remains to be seen.”

The domestically-focused midcap FTSE 250 index recouped early losses to end 0.6% higher with industrial stocks leading gains.

Among individual stocks, fund manager Quilter, dropped 2.9%, after posting lower quarterly assets under management and administration.

CRH jumped 5.9% was the second biggest percentage gainer on the FTSE after the Irish building materials supplier forecast first-half group sales ahead of prior year.

SSE rose 2.3% after the power generator agreed to buy a portfolio of onshore wind development projects from Siemens Gamesa for 580 million euros ($626 million).

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Angus MacSwan)

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