London markets rose on Wednesday, fuelled by strong results from Next. as investors looked ahead to the latest decision from the US Federal Reserve.
The FTSE 100 rose 0.28 per cent to 7,342.43 while the FTSE 250 climbed 0.60 per cent to hit 17,185.89.
The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates on hold as it assesses how its historic bout of monetary tightening is impacting inflation.
With inflation coming down, central banks are transitioning to the next phase of ‘higher-for-longer’ interest rates. Investors will therefore be paying close attention to the forward guidance issued by the world’s most important central bank.
“Fed Chair Jay Powell’s comments will be closely scrutinized for indications of just how long rates are set to stay higher, given the resilience of the US economy,” Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown said.
Before the rate decision, traders will have two separate jobs report to scrutinise which will help to paint a picture of the US labour market.
On the FTSE 100, Next climbed to the top of the index, rising 3.6 per cent.
The high street bellweather said full-price sales for its third quarter were up 4 per cent, £23m ahead of original guidance.
It is the latest in a string of consecutive guidance upgrades, coming just six weeks after the last one.
Airtel Africa, Melrose and M&S were among the other top risers, all rising around four per cent.
GSK fell 1.8 per cent even as bosses said they expect revenue to grow faster than they had originally thought thanks to a new vaccine.
“Competitive performance was broadly based but benefited particularly from the outstanding US launch of Arexvy, the world’s first RSV vaccine,” said chief executive Emma Walmsley.
On the FTSE 250 shares in Aston Martin dropped nearly 10 per cent despite the sports car manufacturer halving its losses.
The firm tempered its volume outlook for 2023 due to supply chain snarl-ups at its newly launched DB12.