London stocks finished with solid gains and near their session highs on Wednesday despite the powerful drag from Sainsbury's after the competition watchdog cast doubt over its merger with Asda, with investors waiting on the release of the Federal Reserve meeting minutes after the close and possible developments from Theresa May's latest talks in Brussels.
Most markets in Asia finished higher on Wednesday, riding a wave of positive sentiment generated by comments from Donald Trump that the looming deadline for a trade deal with China could be postponed.
The UK government will on Wednesday announce measures to reduce risks taken by private firms that provide public services, as it seeks to assist companies that have become increasingly wary of taking on new government business in the wake of Carillion's collapse last year.
London stocks were set for a steady start on Wednesday following a mostly muted close on Wall Street, as investors eyed the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve and more Brexit talks between Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
British businesses are raising wages by the most in the past seven years as it becomes increasingly difficult finding enough skilled workers due to Brexit.
London stocks ended slightly submerged on Monday after ending last week at a high water mark not seen in four months, with pressure coming from a rise in the pound, although the second-tier index put in a solid advance.
Seven Labour MPs resigned from the party on Monday in protest over its Brexit policy and the failure to deal with antisemitism among members.
Little movement is expected from London stocks on Tuesday morning ahead of jobs data, the reopening of Wall Street after the long weekend and after results from HSBC disappointed.
London stocks had another subdued start on Tuesday ahead of jobs data, the reopening of Wall Street after the long weekend and after results from HSBC disappointed.
UK wage growth remained at its post-crisis high at the end of last year, as employment rose but productivity softened.