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* NatWest surges after earnings
* Focus shifts to BoE decision
* Jupiter Fund weighs on mid-cap index
* FTSE 100 up 1.1%, FTSE 250 adds 1.6%
July 29 (Reuters) - Britain's top equity indexes rose on
Friday and marked their strongest monthly performance of 2022,
as a jump in commodities and a slew of upbeat earnings reports
from companies like NatWest outweighed economic slowdown
The blue-chip FTSE 100 gained 1.1% while the
domestically focussed midcap FTSE 250 climbed 1.6%, both
holding at seven-week highs.
NatWest rose 8.1% after the bank raised its
full-year forecast and made a bumper payout to shareholders,
lifting the banking index 1.5% higher.
"The sectors earnings so far have benefited from the rising
rate environment and volatile financial markets that have
boosted trading activity," said Victoria Scholar, head of
investment at Interactive Investor.
But she added that there were concerns for financial stocks
due to the shaky British macroeconomic outlook for the second
half, with fears of a recession and inflation close to double
"For lenders like Standard Chartered and HSBC with an Asian
pivot there are also concerns about Chinas draconian
zero-tolerance to COVID approach that is leading to an economic
slowdown," she said.
Standard Chartered slipped 0.5% even as its
first-half pre-tax profit rose 19% and beat market expectations.
Investors eyed results from its larger peer HSBC on
All eyes are on the Bank of England's meeting next week,
with a Reuters poll of economists forecasting another
25-basis-point increase to tame inflation running at a
Still, global markets have recovered this month as signs
that the Federal Reserve could slow the pace of interest rate
hikes and better-than-expected earnings reports from tech giants
The FTSE 100 posted its best monthly showing since December
2021, while the midcap index was looking at its best month since
Oil majors BP and Shell climbed more than
2.5% each, while miners added 2.7%, tracking firm
British Airways-owner IAG fell 2.6% even though it
returned to profit for the first time since the outbreak of the
COVID-19 pandemic, led by demand for European flights.
Jupiter Fund Management slid 2.4% as the asset
manager reported a fall in half-yearly profit, hit by rising
outflows as key global markets buckled under geopolitical
tensions and inflationary concerns.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in
Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Subhranshu Sahu and Hugh