UPDATE 2-Lloyds, WPP drive FTSE 100 higher; Fed outcome eyed

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-Lloyds, WPP drive FTSE 100 higher; Fed outcome eyed
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* Lloyds gains as Q1 profit jumps

* FTSE 100 up 0.3%, FTSE 250 flat (Adds comment, details; updates prices)

By Devik Jain and Medha Singh

April 28 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 climbed on Wednesday, lifted by energy shares and a slew of upbeat earnings updates from companies including Lloyds Banking Group and WPP as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy statement.

The blue-chip index .FTSE rose 0.3%, with oil heavyweights BP Plc BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell Plc RDSa.L providing the biggest boost as oil prices firmed. O/R

WPP WPP.L rose 2.8% after the world's biggest advertising company said its underlying net sales returned to growth as clients started to spend to prepare for the global economic recovery. Banking Group LLOY.L added 3.5% after Britain's biggest domestic bank reported upbeat profit for the first three months of the year. wider banking index .FTNMX301010 added 1.4%, rising for the fifth straight session with Barclays BARC.L and Natwest Group NWG.L rising ahead of their earnings reports this week.

Worlds stocks neared record highs as focused shifted to the Fed's statement which is expected to reiterate the U.S. central bank's pledge of monetary support for some time while awaiting results from heavyweights Apple Inc AAPL.O and Facebook Inc FB.O .

"Powell will need to continue walking the fine line between sounding optimistic whilst reining in expectations," said Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index in London.

The FTSE 100 has gained about 8% year-to-date on optimism that speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and constant policy support from the government would drive a stronger economic recovery.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC ended nearly flat.

Reckitt Benckiser Group RKT.L dropped about 4% as a weak flu season saw fewer people reach for cold remedies and declining birth rates hit sales of baby formula products. Still, the company posted better-than-expected quarterly sales.

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