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UK's FTSE 100 ekes out gains on BP boost, midcaps decline

  • FTSE 100 inches towards recent peak

  • BP hits over three-year high

  • FTSE 100 up 0.4%, FTSE 250 off 1.1%

Feb 7 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 closed higher on Tuesday as bumper earnings from oil giant BP supported the resources-heavy index, while global risk sentiment was subdued ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair's comments.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 (.FTSE) rose 0.4% at close, inching closer to the all-time high it hit last week.

Oil major BP (BP.L) soared 8.0% after it reported a record profit of $28 billion in 2022 and increased its dividend by 10%, in a sign of confidence as it scaled back plans to reduce oil and gas output by 2030.

The stock was the top gainer on FTSE 100, closing at its highest trading price in over three years.

Rival Shell (SHEL.L) also gained 2.4%, with both helping the oil and gas index (.FTNMX601010) outperform the broader market on Tuesday.

Globally, investors were on edge as markets awaited U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's comments at 1740 GMT, which will be closely monitored after a strong U.S. jobs report dented risk appetite, which received a boost earlier last week from largely dovish Fed comments.

"As long as we don't get an unexpected sharp (Fed) hike upwards, markets will probably be okay this year," said Sharon Bentley-Hamlyn, investment manager at Aubrey European Conviction Strategy.

"We may not see a pivot this year, but we almost certainly will next year."

While a surge in commodity prices and a weaker pound have supported the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 so far this year, Britain's gloomy economic outlook and elevated inflation have weighed on the domestically focussed FTSE 250 index

The midcap index lost more than 1% in broad-based declines.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday, breaking up two departments to better suit his pledges to spur the economy.


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