Energy, Mining Stocks Push FTSE 100 Higher; Shell Top Gainer.

Energy, Mining Stocks Push FTSE 100 Higher; Shell Top Gainer.

London’s FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday as heavyweight mining and energy stocks tracked commodity prices higher, while Royal Dutch Shell jumped on plans to boost shareholder returns.


Shell climbed 2.5% to the top of the FTSE 100 as the company said it would boost its planned shareholder returns beginning in the second quarter after a sharp rise in oil and gas prices helped it reduce debt.


The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.5%, which was led by gains in energy and base metal stocks, up 2.2% and 1.9%.


The domestically focussed mid-cap index gained 0.4%, led by a 1.3% rise in homebuilders.


British house prices in June fell in monthly terms for the first time since January as the government prepared to scale back its tax break for home-buyers, mortgage lender Halifax said. However, they rose 8.8% in annual terms.


Homebuilder stocks have gained 1.4% so far this year on rising home prices and demand for bigger homes, but have largely underperformed the FTSE 100.


Cheap borrowing costs, higher commodity prices and re-opening optimism have helped the FTSE 100 gain 10.5% so far this year. However, the index has underperformed its European and local mid-cap peers.


“The mix of recovering employment with improved consumer sentiment, buttressed by record-low borrowing rates, a booming property market and a loose fiscal bias, has the potential to set off a virtuous cycle between household spending and corporate profits,” said Konstantinos Venetis, a senior economist at TS Lombard.


Global recruitment firm PageGroup jumped 3.9% and was the top mid-cap gainer after it reported a 2% rise in second-quarter gross profit.


Peer Robert Walters climbed 9.6% after posting its first jump in net fees in a year on increased hiring.


Countryside Properties rose 0.7% after it said it would focus solely on partnerships business following a strategic review of the potential separation of its housebuilding segment.

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