By Emily Horton
The FTSE 100 was mostly flat Wednesday, consolidating a day after hitting the best level in months.
Gains for U.K. housebuilders kept London markets from dipping further.
How did markets perform?
FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.24% was flat at 7,177.24 after closing up 2% on Tuesday, a three-month high for the index.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0717% reclaimed a little lost ground after dipping on Tuesday, fetching $1.2956 from $1.2949. The rise in the FTSE on Tuesday was helped by a weaker pound as well as a well-received set of numbers from heavyweight oil company BP PLC .
What’s driving the markets?
The house building sector was one of the few in the black. Barratt Developments PLC /zigman2/quotes/209812640/delayed UK:BDEV +0.44% posted a profit rise of 19% in the first half of its fiscal year on Wednesday, securing a 2% rise in its share price. Building materials company CRH PLC /zigman2/quotes/201759252/delayed UK:CRH +0.03% led the FTSE 100 risers, adding almost 4%, while Barratt peer Persimmon PLC /zigman2/quotes/206444744/delayed UK:PSN -0.03% added 0.3%.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said “For all the fears around Brexit hurting the housing market, house builders continue to churn out the profits and dish out generous cash rewards for shareholders.”
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will head to Brussels Thursday for a meeting with the European Union officials where she hopes to secure changes on an exit deal to ensure it gets approval by parliament back home.
Brexit Brief: U.K. can swerve a no-deal disaster, say economists
What shares were active?
Major oil companies weighed on the downside, along with banks, with Royal Dutch Shell PLC /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A -2.82% /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA +1.02% fell 1.6% and HSBC Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/203901799/delayed UK:HSBA -0.47% /zigman2/quotes/203901799/delayed UK:HSBA -0.47% dropped 1.2%.
Energy provider Centrica PLC /zigman2/quotes/205228367/delayed UK:CNA -0.40% dropped by 2.6% and heavyweight pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline PLC /zigman2/quotes/200381158/delayed UK:GSK +1.22% fell by close to 1%.