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Britain's FTSE boosted by Barclays, though mid-caps fall
October 27, 2016 / 4:35 PM / a year ago

Britain's FTSE boosted by Barclays, though mid-caps fall

* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct

* Barclays top gainer after results

* Though Amec Foster Wheeler, Berendsen weigh on midcaps (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Alistair Smout and Kit Rees

LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index rose on Thursday in a choppy session, buoyed by well-received results from Barclays, though mid-cap stocks fell as earnings updates led to double-digit slides for AMEC Foster Wheeler and Berendsen.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent at 6,986.57 points by the close, while the more domestically-focused FTSE 250 slipped 0.5 percent.

Barclays was the top riser on FTSE 100, up 4.8 percent after its third quarter results beat forecasts.

The lender posted a rise in third quarter profits to 1.7 billion pounds ($2.08 billion), helped by an improvement in its investment bank division.

The bank has been outperforming the European sector since the beginning of last week, when the major U.S. banks reported a bumper set of results and strong fixed income trading.

“Barclays earnings in the third quarter were boosted by its investment banking business, mirroring a trend seen amongst the big American banks,” said Jasper Lawler, analyst at CMC Markets.

However, the bank continued to be dogged by UK-specific issues, such as a provision for mis-selling insurance and a pension deficit due to lower interest rates in Britain.

Lloyds continued to rebound after dropping following its own results on Wednesday. It initially fell as the government restarted its scheme to sell its stake in the bank, but it closed 2.9 percent higher, extending a rebound from Wednesday’s lows to 7.5 percent.

UBS reiterated a “buy” rating on the stock, raising its target price on the stock to 67 pence and saying that earnings had beaten is forecast by 2 percent.

The bank said that Lloyds commitment to maintain this year’s target of a 2.70 percent net interest margin as a target for 2017 helped support shares from lows in the previous session.

Banks have struggled in the current low interest rate environment, with the Bank of England cutting rates for the first time since 2009 in August.

Like the banks, the pension deficit was a concern for telecom BT, which dropped 2.2 percent after its own update.

Barratt Developments fell more than 6 percent after trading ex-dividend.

The British midcaps underperformed their blue-chip peers after disappointing results weighed on shares in Amec Foster Wheeler and Berendsen.

Oil services firm Amec Foster Wheeler slumped more than 20 percent, posting its worst day in almost a year after cancelling its capital markets day and posting weak sales figures.

Commercial laundry company Berendsen tumbled nearly 16 percent on a profit warning.

This follows profit warnings from fellow midcaps Cobham , Keller and Senior over the past week.

“This earnings season isn’t shaping up to be particularly great for medium-cap companies. They are the ones that are feeling the pinch of Brexit that’s been demonstrated in recent sets of earnings,” Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments, said. (Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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