LONDON (Reuters) – UK shares were little changed on Wednesday, as banks, energy and mining stocks gained but investors braced for warnings on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the struggling British economy.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was up 0.02 percent at 0951 GMT as opening gains ran out of steam. The midcap index <.FTMC> rose 0.1 percent.
Most investor attention was on the government’s assessment of the impact of different Brexit outcomes, which will be published on Wednesday morning. Later on Wednesday, the Bank of England will publish the results of its 2018 stress tests.
“Banking stocks in the UK have had a disappointing year, weighed down by concerns about a no-deal Brexit, which would suggest that a lot of the bad news is already baked into the price,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Mining shares <.FTNMX1770> rose 0.7 percent. Banks <.FTNMX8350> gained 0.5 percent. Oil and gas stocks were up 0.4 percent.
Credit checker Experian eked out gains even after the European Commission raised concerns about its takeover of rival ClearScore, saying it could reduce competition in the industry. The shares were up 0.3 percent.
M&A was also in the news with media reports that one of two European consumer giants, Unilever Plc <ULVR.L> and Nestlé SA <NESN.S>, are leading the race for GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s <GSK.L> Indian Horlicks nutrition business. GSK and Unilever were both down 0.1 percent.
Among the midcaps, Thomas Cook <TCG.L> sank again after its second profit warning on Tuesday, dropping 7.2 percent to the bottom of the index.
Small- and mid-cap financials were in focus after earnings.
Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin <BRW.L> fell over 3 percent, one of the biggest declines on the FTSE 250, as analysts predicted downgrades to earnings as commission fees wane and costs increase, even after in-line results.
Liberum cut its earnings forecasts by 2.5 percent. AIM-listed WH Ireland <WHI.L> slumped more than 10 percent to its lowest since August 2013 after its results.
(Reporting by Josephine Mason, editing by Larry King)