FTSE 100 Rallies As Next Raises Forecast

U.K. stocks were sharply higher on Wednesday as the pound struggled amid COVID-19 woes and fashion retailer raised its profit outlook after posting robust earnings.

The benchmark FTSE 100 jumped 100 points, or 1.5 percent, to 6,981 after rising half a percent in the previous session.

Next soared 8.1 percent after raising its full-year profit forecast and announcing a special dividend.

Chilean miner Antofagasta rallied 3 percent after maintaining its full-year production guidance.

Royal Mail shares fell 2.2 percent. The postal service company said parcel deliveries slowed in the last quarter as COVID restrictions eased.

In economic news, the U.K. budget deficit narrowed in June as the economy started to recover, yet the borrowing was the second-highest on record for the month, the Office for National Statistics said.

The public sector net borrowing decreased GBP 5.5 billion from the last year to GBP 22.8 billion in June and was below the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecast of GBP 25.2 billion.

Nonetheless, this was the second-highest June borrowing since monthly records began in 1993 and exceeded the economists' forecast of GBP 21.5 billion.

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