* FTSE 100 up 0.2 pct
* Miners among biggest fallers as copper drops
* Next adds to concerns over consumer squeeze
* HSBC profits, capital ratio beats drive gains
* Oil group Shell pares gains as crude slumps
(Adds details, closing prices)
By Helen Reid and Danilo Masoni
LONDON, May 4 British blue-chip stocks rose
slightly on Thursday but lagged European peers, with miners
falling and retailer Next slumping as a difficult consumer
environment bit into its profits.
The FTSE inched up 0.2 percent, while the main
German and French indexes both rose more and hit fresh highs.
The British index was supported by gains among financial
stocks which were led higher by a 2.8 percent surge in HSBC
after profits at the major bank beat expectations and
its capital position improved.
The bank's common equity tier 1 ratio, a measure of
financial strength, was 14.22 percent, up from 11.9 percent in
the same period last year.
"The stronger CET1 print leaves the group in a stronger
position to absorb any regulatory headwinds," said KBW analyst
Royal Dutch Shell shares inched up 0.3 percent,
paring earlier gains driven by a solid earnings update, as oil
prices fell to their lowest since November. Concern over rising
global crude supply and high inventories effectively wiped out
most of the gains made since OPEC announced its first supply cut
in eight years.
Shell more than doubled first-quarter profits as higher
crude prices gave a helping hand and refining margins improved.
A difficult environment for UK consumers weighed on clothing
and homeware retailer Next, the biggest faller on the FTSE.
Its shares sank 5.1 percent, scoring their worst day since
its January profit warning, after it further trimmed its 2017
profit guidance, saying shoppers were cutting back on spending.
"This shows just how tough the high street is," said Andrew
Jackson, manager of Miton UK Value Opportunities fund.
"Disposable incomes are being squeezed, and even the mighty
Next has no way of countering these headwinds."
The results had a ripple effect on peers Marks & Spencer
and Sainsbury, which fell 2.5 and 1.6 percent
Next adds to growing concerns over a consumer squeeze which
also hit carpet retailer Carpetright and Costa coffee
owner Whitbread's results last week.
Materials sector stocks were the biggest drag to the FTSE,
with miners Antofagasta, Anglo American and
Glencore all down more than 3 percent as copper fell to
five-months lows on rising inventories and worries over demand.
Precious metal miner Randgold Resources inched
higher after reporting a 33 percent rise in first-quarter
profit, though it said production fell due to labour strikes at
two of its mines.
Mid-cap bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral slipped 4.3
percent after full-year results revealed weaker UK trading.
Retail net revenue, the majority of its business, fell 2
Insurer RSA jumped to a 5-1/2-year high after it
reported premiums rose 14 percent in the first quarter.
(Editing by Catherine Evans)