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* FTSE 100 index up 0.2 percent
* Lloyds and Barratt gain after results
* Miners lose ground on weaker metals prices
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 22 Britain's top share index edged
up on Wednesday as Lloyds reported its highest annual
profit in a decade and the UK's biggest housebuilder Barratt
announced upbeat results.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was last up 0.2 percent
at 7,288.00 points, after closing 0.3 percent lower on Tuesday.
The index climbed to a one-month high earlier this week.
The UK banking index climbed 1.4 percent after
Lloyds signalled it was finally recovering from the financial
crisis and reported 2016 pretax profit of 4.2 billion pounds
($5.3 billion), more than double that in 2015. Lloyds shares
were up 3.6 percent.
"The recovery seems to be nearing completion as the bank has
boosted pretax profit, supported by a positive set of metrics,
with notable improvements in earnings per share and net interest
margin," said Richard Hunter, head of research at Wilson King
"Meanwhile, the capital cushion remains strong, the
cost-income ratio is leading edge and the special dividend is
representative of confidence in the outlook."
Barratt shares rose 2 percent, the second biggest gainers in
the FTSE 100 index, after the company announced a 9 percent rise
in pretax profit in the six months through December. However, it
said it would build around 20 percent fewer homes in London in
Gains in the broader market were capped by weaker miners,
which tracked a drop in major industrial metals such as copper
, aluminium and nickel.
The UK mining index dropped 1.6 percent,
dragged down by a 1.2 to 3.6 percent fall in shares of Anglo
American, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
The UK mid-cap index also fell, by 0.3 percent,
pressured by steep declines in shares of outsourcing group
Serco and drugmaker Indivior.
Serco, which provides transport, health, justice, defence
and security services in public departments, slumped 14 percent
after posting a 14 percent drop in 2016 trading profit and said
it was vulnerable to increased global political uncertainty in
"We continue to anticipate another reduction in revenues,
profitability and earnings, with another step up in net debt,"
Shore Capital analyst Robin Speakman said.
Indivior shares were also down 14 percent, after the company
reported a sharp fall in its operating profit.
The market showed little reaction to data revealing that
Britain's economy accelerated at the end of 2016 but growth for
the whole year was weaker than previously thought. There were
also signs of weakness ahead, suggesting the Brexit vote will
start to take its toll in 2017.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Susan Fenton)