London’s FTSE 100 inches up, lacklustre earnings weigh

By Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 inched higher on Tuesday, supported by miners and heavyweight drugmaker AstraZeneca, but gains were capped by underwhelming earnings reports, led by Barclays after posting a lower quarterly profit.

The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 closed 0.2% higher, snapping a four-day losing streak, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 slipped 0.4%.

AstraZeneca said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review the company’s application seeking approval for patients or caregivers to administer its nasal flu vaccine. The drugmaker’s shares climbed 3.3%.

Miners added 2.3%, leading sectoral gains on the FTSE 100 as copper prices steadied and Rio Tinto rose 3.5% on a ratings upgrade by Barclays.

Meanwhile, data showed Britain’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.2% in the three months to August.

However, the big picture remained of a softening labour market with the number of people in jobs falling again, potentially helping the Bank of England keep interest rates on hold in its upcoming policy meeting.

According to the vast majority of economists polled by Reuters, the BoE is likely done with policy tightening and will leave the Bank Rate at 5.25% in its Nov. 2 meeting.

“Elevated inflation and the BoE’s stream of rate hikes take their toll on the jobs market,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

“Businesses are clearly becoming more cautious about their hiring plans, while finding jobs is becoming more challenging for workers.”

Limiting gains, Barclays fell 6.5% after the British lender’s third-quarter profit dipped from a year ago on sliding revenues in its investment bank.

The banking index slid 1.3%.

Shares of CAB Payments tanked 71.9% after the money transfer company guided full-year group revenue at 17% below its previous forecast.

Business supplies distributor Bunzl eased 4% on warning it expected a drop in full-year revenue as price inflation eased and demand for COVID-related products declined.

Experian fell 10.3% to the bottom of the FTSE 100 index.

(Reporting by Khushi Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar; Editing by Janane Venkatraman, Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Sharon Singleton)