Business

FTSE 100 little changed on Wednesday

Market trader (file picture) Image copyright PA

(Close): London's main shares index lost early gains on Wednesday to close the trading session little changed.

The benchmark FTSE 100 share index closed up 4 points at 6,834.77.

Shares in banks and insurance firms helped to lift the market after the latest moves from the Bank of Japan.

Japan's central bank announced changes to its monetary policy, including targeting yield rates on government bonds - a measure that is seen as beneficial for financial firms.

Barclays shares rose 3.1%.

As well as the reaction to the Bank of Japan's actions, Barclays' shares were boosted after analysts at HSBC raised their rating on the bank to "buy" from "hold".

Elsewhere in the financial sector, shares in Legal & General, Aviva and Standard Life were all up by more than 2%.

Outside the FTSE 100, shares in Majestic Wine dived by nearly a quarter after it issued a profit warning.

Majestic said profits would be lower than expected after a direct marketing campaign in the US failed to work, while profit margins had declined at its commercial business - which supplies wines to pubs and restaurants.

Shares in womenswear retailer Bonmarche sank by 21% after it also issued a profit warning. The company said it had suffered from "extremely poor" sales of its autumn range in September because of the recent hot weather.

On the currency markets, the pound edged back below $1.30 against the dollar, trading at $1.2974. Against the euro, the pound dipped 0.08% to €1.1634.

Markets will be paying close attention to the latest interest rate decision from the US Federal Reserve, due later.

There had been speculation that the US central bank might increase rates this month, although most analysts do not expect the Fed to act until December.