FTSE up as Shell impresses

Shares in London were on the front foot again today as investors cheered results from oil giant Royal Dutch Shell.

Shares in London were on the front foot again today as investors cheered results from oil giant Royal Dutch Shell.

The FTSE 100 Index was up 16.7 points to 6231.3 by mid-morning as it built on last night’s five-and-a-half-year high and further gains on Wall Street.

The rise in London was driven by Shell, which gained more than 3% after its third-quarter results came in ahead of expectations.

The market was given further support by mining stocks and a bullish performance in the United States, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued its march north after the Federal Reserve left interest rates on hold.

However, updates from AstraZeneca, Cadbury Schweppes and British American Tobacco marred the positive mood in London.

Shell lifted 64p to 1906p after its underlying profits came in well ahead of analysts’ expectations despite disruption to production in the Gulf of Mexico and Nigeria.

Mining stocks were also on the rise as metal prices continued to recover, with Vedanta Resources 38p higher at 1470p, Kazakhmys 11p stronger at 1232p and Xstrata up 19p to 2273p.

But pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca suffered a torrid session after it abandoned a drug to reduce stroke-related disability after clinical trials failed. Shares in the stock fell 6% or 207p to 3322p.

It was followed down by Cadbury Schweppes which fell 8.5p to 537.5p after it said a weak performance in the UK meant revenues growth for the year will come in at the middle of its target range.

British American Tobacco gave up 21p to 1461p as investors reacted with caution to its rising profits amid challenging conditions in its European markets.

Elsewhere, shares in Blacks Leisure fell 5.25p to 437.75p after it said first-half profits came in at just £100,000 (€148,900) compared with £6.9m (€10.3m) a year ago. The outdoor clothing chain was hit by a warm summer and a lack of business during the World Cup.

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