Positive earnings help lift the FTSE 100
The FTSE 100 enjoyed a positive day after strong updates from constituents such as BP (BP), Centrica (CNA) Rolls-Royce (RR.) and others.
BP announced profit increased to $1,593m in the first half of 2017, up from a loss of $2,002m in the same period last year. The strong results prompted a rally in BP of 2.9% to 458.4p.
A solid performance at British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) helped to boost first half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) by 2% to £1,293m. Centrica was up 2.3% to 203p.
National Grid (NG.) was also among the top performers after broker Berenberg upgraded their recommendation on the stock from 'hold' to 'buy'. The positive view attracted investors who marked the stock 0.8% higher to 944.2p.
The FTSE 100 closed 0.7% higher at 7,424.1.
UK ECONOMIC NEWS
UK manufacturing increased in July as the Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 55.1, up from 54.2 in June. The increase was supported by stronger inflows of new work, higher levels of production, improved job creation, longer supplier delivery times and more inventory holdings according to Markit.
House price growth was stable in July at 2.9% according to Nationwide.
The US struggled for direction at the open with strong corporate results balanced out by political chaos in Washington. In early trading the S&P 500 was 0.15% higher.
In Asia, investor sentiment was more upbeat with Hong Kong's Hang Seng leading the way and closing 0.8% up at 27,540 this morning.
FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS
the biggest blue-chip riser was Intertek (ITRK), up 9.6% to £45.72, after operating profit rose 10.1% to £223.9m thanks to strong earnings and cash performance in the first half of the year.
Insurance firm Direct Line (DLG) boosted premiums by 5% to £1.7bn, helping to increase operating profits 9.5% to £352.2m. The company also hiked its dividend by 38.8% to 6.8p per share, prompting the stock to accelerate 5.6% to 397.2p.
UK supermarket Morrisons (MRW) agreed to supply McColl's Retail's (MCLS) 1,300 convenience stores and 350 newsagents. While Morrisons was broadly flat at 242p, shares in McColl's bounced 7.1% to 250p.
It was a strong start to 2017 for Rolls-Royce (RR.) after the engineering firm announced profit before tax of £1,941m, up from a loss of £2,150m in 2016. Shares in the firm rose 8.1% to 959.7p.
In the housebuilding sector, Taylor Wimpey (TW.) said trading through the first half of 2017 was very positive, supported by favourable UK housing market fundamentals and good customer confidence. Investors were pleased with the upbeat update as the stock increased 1.1% to 192.4p.
FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS
Sausage roll seller Greggs (GRG) warned it 'remains alert' to pressures building on consumers' disposable income and continuing economic uncertainty. Despite this the stock recovered earlier losses to trade 2.5% higher at £11.27.
CYBG (CYBG) delivered another solid performance due to increased momentum in its mortgage and core SME divisions despite the competitive environment. The stock increased 8% to 288.5p.
Chemicals firm Elementis (ELM) was up 1.3% to 300.2p thanks to operating profit growth across the business.
Aviation services provider BBA Aviation (BBA) said pre-tax profits jumped to $143.3m in the six months to the end of June 2017, up from £119.4m, helping the stock tick 3% higher to 308.8p.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) announced that all necessary regulatory permits were in place to commence flow testing at its 100% owned Broadford Bridge-1 exploration well located in licence PEDL234. The market was excited by the news as the stock soared 25% to 7.5p.
Going in the opposite direction was Real Good Food (RGD). The food business said EBITDA is anticipated to be approximately £2.3 million lower than previously expected, causing its share price to plummet by a third to 23.4p.
Genel Energy (GENL) moved from a $3.8m loss last year to a $14.2m profit in the first six months of 2017, prompting shares in the oil and gas firm to rise by 5.7% to 107.2p.