(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London were mixed at midday Tuesday, after a busy morning of corporate updates and earnings.

The FTSE 100 index was up 7.91 points, 0.1%, at 7,736.41. The FTSE 250 was down 47.03 points, 0.2%, at 19,169.87, and the AIM All-Share was down 0.91 of a point, 0.1%, at 755.42.

The Cboe UK 100 was up 0.1% at 774.51, the Cboe UK 250 was down 0.2% at 16,600.33, and the Cboe Small Companies was down 0.4% at 14,458.79.

In European equities on Tuesday, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.2%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was down 0.3%.

Stocks in New York were called lower, as markets return from celebrating George Washington's birthday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was called down 0.2%, the S&P 500 index down 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.6%.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2591 at midday on Tuesday in London, up slightly compared to USD1.2589 at the equities close on Monday.

As well as corporate updates, eyes have also been on the Bank of England.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has said that the UK's recession is "very weak", but signalled that inflation does not need to reach 2% before the Bank starts cutting interest rates.

Bailey said that compared to recessions dating back to the 1970s, the 0.5% cumulative reduction in gross domestic product in the third and fourth quarter was "the weakest by a long way".

"We have a very precise definition of a recession in this country as two successive quarters of negative GDP growth," he told the Treasury Select Committee.

The euro stood at USD1.0800, higher against USD1.0764. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY150.22, up compared to JPY150.17.

In the FTSE 100, banking gains helped push the index into the green at midday on Tuesday.

Barclays jumped 5.6%, by far the best FTSE 100 performer so far on Wednesday.

Barclays said its total income in 2023 rose 1.7% year-on-year to GBP15.38 billion from GBP24.96 billion, with growth in Barclays UK of 4.5% to GBP7.59 billion. However, pretax profit fell 6.5% to GBP6.56 billion from GBP7.01 billion, as its credit impairment charge widened to GBP1.88 billion from GBP1.22 billion. In the fourth quarter, total income fell 3.5% to GBP5.60 billion, while pretax profit plunged 92% to GBP110 million, after restructuring costs of GBP927 million.

For 2023, the total dividend rose to 8.0 pence from 7.25p the year before. The bank plans to begin another share buyback worth GBP1.0 billion, bringing total capital distributions for the year to GBP3.0 billion, which is up around 37% on 2022. It is also planning at least GBP10 billion in capital returns to shareholders between 2024 and 2025.

Barclays announced it will now be managed and report via five focused operating divisions, allowing it to provide an "enhanced and more granular disclosure" on its performance. It will unveil its new three-year plan at an investor update later in the day.

NatWest rose 0.6% and Lloyds edged 0.1% higher, in a positive read across.

InterContinental Hotels jumped 2.9%.

The Windsor, Berkshire-based operator of the InterContinental, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel chains said pretax profit surged 87% to USD1.01 billion in 2023 from USD540 million in 2022.

Revenue climbed 19% to USD4.62 billion from USD3.89 billion, boosted by growth in all regions.

The company proposed a final dividend of 104.0 US cents, up 10% from a year ago. This brings the total dividend for 2023 to 152.3 cents, 10% higher than 138.4 cents for 2022.

It also launched a new up to USD800 million share buyback programme aimed at reducing issued share capital. The bought back shares will be cancelled.

In the FTSE 250, Mobico lost 8.7%.

The Birmingham-based public transport provider, formerly known as National Express, said it would delay the publication of its annual results, as the company warned that increased provisions needed to be made relating to its German rail business.

The annual results are now expected to be published before the end of March, with an exact date to be confirmed in due course. They were due for release on February 29.

Amongst London's small-caps, Petra Diamonds lost 13%, following a disappointing set of interim results.

In the six months to December 31, the diamond miner's revenue fell to USD187.8 million from USD208.5 million a year before, as it swung to a loss before tax of GBP15.9 million from GBP2.8 million profit.

On AIM, Engage XR surged 40%.

Engage XR said that it had signed a seven-figure contract with an unnamed "large Middle East-based company in the education, training, and development sector". Alongside the consulting group PwC Middle East, Engage XR will be developing a bespoke metaworld, which will assist with language learning programmes and professional ongoing development at the company.

Engage added that it has extended the partnership with a "leading American bank". Having previously provided onboarding training through the Engage platform, the company has now signed an additional six-figure contract for employee training.

Brent oil was quoted at USD82.75 a barrel at midday in London on Tuesday, down from USD83.53 late Monday.

Gold was quoted at USD2,026.01 an ounce, higher against USD2,013.67.

Still to come on Tuesday's economic calendar, there is a consumer price reading for Canada.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

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