A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London

(Reuters) – Commodity-linked stocks lifted the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, as investors awaited UK’s business activity data and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes that could offer clues on the pace of monetary policy tightening.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.4%, touching a fresh two-month high. Energy stocks climbed 1.5% as crude oil prices inched higher on data showing a larger-than-expected U.S. crude drawdown. [O/R]

Miners climbed 2.0%, extending Tuesday’s recovery.

Asian and European markets were steady as investors looked to the release of the Fed’s November meeting minutes amid hopes that the central bank will shift to smaller interest rate hikes.

A flash estimate of UK’s business activity in November is due at 0930 GMT, with the numbers expected to signal a contraction, hit by towering inflation and a cost-of-living crisis.

The domestically focused FTSE 250 midcaps lost 0.3%, with Johnson Matthey shedding 7.2% after the chemicals maker reported a slightly lower half-yearly profit.

Pets at Home lost 3.1% after Britain’s largest pet supplies retailer reported a lower first-half profit, hurt by a surge in freight and energy costs amid rising inflation.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)

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