London stocks score monthly gains; HSBC climbs on upbeat profit

Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London

By Pranav Kashyap, Sruthi Shankar and Khushi Singh

(Reuters) -Britain's benchmark FTSE 100 ended subdued on Tuesday, as strength in financials following strong updates from HSBC and Hargreaves Lansdown was offset by a sell-off in metal mining stocks.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 had extended its record rally for the sixth straight session earlier in the day, hitting an all-time high of 8,199.95 points. However, the index ended the session flat.

The midcap FTSE 250 edged 0.6% lower to 19,965.39 points, after having breached the 20,000 mark in the previous session.

Both indexes marked their second consecutive monthly gain. Signs of inflation coming under control, a recovering economy, upbeat corporate results and reasonable prices is attracting more buyers to Britain.

"There's a fear of missing out as everything has been rising for so long, and even at the beginning of April, when we did see a pullback, FTSE held better than its European and U.S. counterparts," Daniela Hathorn, senior Market analyst at, said.

The banks index added 2.3% as the top performing sector, led by a 4.1% jump in HSBC Holdings shares after the Asia-focused bank announced a better-than-expected pretax profit, $3 billion worth of share buybacks and its CEO Noel Quinn's retirement.

Hargreaves Lansdown jumped 3.6%, after the investment platform saw good momentum in April as clients invested at the start of the tax year to claim more benefits.

Whitbread rose 3.9% as the Premier Inn owner announced a 26% increase in its dividend, a share buy-back programme worth 150 million pounds ($187 million), and plans to close 238 underperforming restaurants, resulting in 1,500 job cuts in Britain.

Limiting gains in the blue-chip index, insurer Prudential fell 5.4% after its annual premium equivalent sales for CITIC Prudential Life, its Chinese Mainland joint venture, slumped 17% in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, precious metal miners led sectoral declines with a 3.4% fall, while industrial metal miners lost 1.4%, pressured by firmer dollar that makes metals expensive for overseas buyers. [GOL/] [MET/L]

Global investors now await the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision on Wednesday.

($1 = 0.7993 pounds)

(Reporting by Pranav Kashyap, Khushi Singh and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Alison Williams)