- The FTSE 100 was up 0.2% by midday to 7,013.07 as airline stocks gained on hopes that some of the current travel restrictions might be lifted.

This followed record quarterly numbers from Microsoft, Google-parent Alphabet and Apple which surpassed expectations. Tonight the US Federal Reserve is set to announce its latest decision on interest rates and financial stimulus.

In the UK, banking group Barclays gained 4.9% to 177.6p as it reported a large rise in first-half profit driven by a drop in credit impairment charges as the economy recovers.

Wealth manager St James's Place gained 4.7% to £15.79 as it saw gross inflows rise to £9.2 billion from £7.3 billion year-on-year in the six months to 30 June 2021.

This helped funds under management reach a record level of £143.8 billion with the company announcing a first half dividend of 11.55p, 30% of its prior full year dividend.

Mining giant Rio Tinto fell 1% to £59.79 even as it posted a bumper rise in first-half profit as it benefited from higher commodity prices, buoyed by government stimulus spending during the pandemic.

Net earnings for the six months through June jumped to $12.31 billion, up from $3.32 billion year-on-year.

Free-to-air broadcaster ITV was flat as it revealed pre-tax profit for the six months through June increased to £133 million, up from £15 million year-on-year, as revenue jumped 27% to £1.55 billion.

Tobacco stock British American Tobacco was also unchanged as it booked a 4.5% fall in first-half profit after foreign exchange headwinds hurt sales, though it stuck to its full-year guidance.

Mining company Fresnillo was up 3.8% to 783p as it boosted second-quarter silver and gold production on a year-on-year basis and stuck to its output target for the full year.

Total silver output for the three months through June rose 9.6% to 14.9 million ounces year-on-year, or up 18% compared to the first quarter.

Car maker Aston Martin Lagonda was up 1.7% to £19.15 as it narrowed first-half losses as sales bounced back, while claiming that it was making progress on its turnaround strategy.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to £90.7 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £227.4 million.

Budget carrier Wizz Air was up 3.5% to £48.21 even as it booked a deeper first-quarter loss as the pandemic and associated travel restrictions continue to hammer the aviation sector.

Net losses for the three months through June amounted to €114.4 million, compared to year-on-year losses of €108.0 million.

IT recruitment specialist FDM posted a 3% fall in first-half profit and cut its dividend as the pandemic weighed on sales but its shares were up 0.5% to £11.26.

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