LONDON Britain's top stock index rose on Wednesday, supported by stronger precious metals and oil company shares as well as by gains at equipment rentals company Ashtead.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.3 percent higher at 6,846.58 points, putting the index's gains this year at about 10 percent.
Ashtead rose 3.3 percent after reporting higher profits and issuing a confident outlook.
"They're very upbeat on their outlook, which is ... the main reason why their shares have responded today," The Share Centre investment research analyst Ian Forrest said.
Commodities-related stocks also rose.
Gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo climbed on the back of a gold price rise.
Firmer oil prices also lifted shares in Royal Dutch Shell and BP, also supporting the FTSE 100.
However, housebuilding stocks such as Berkeley Group and Barratt Developments fell, as investors remained unconvinced that the sector could escape the after-effects of Britain's shock vote to quit the European Union.
Barratt said sales had risen post-Brexit, but Shore Capital Markets analyst Robin Hardy said he remained cautious.
"We do not see Barratt being as financially robust as a number of its peers and while there is scope for a sustained level of dividends to be paid, Barratt has a shorter land bank and more land creditors to fund and with still high demands on free cash from working capital," he said.
Blue chips aside, financial spreadbetting and trading company CMC Markets slumped 12.3 percent after warning of lower first-half net operating income.
Sports Direct dropped 8.7 percent after the retailer lowered its guidance for 2017.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)