FTSE up despite revenue figures

More dire figures on the state of the UK's public finances today failed to derail the FTSE 100 Index's winning run despite a subdued day of trading.

More dire figures on the state of the UK's public finances today failed to derail the FTSE 100 Index's winning run despite a subdued day of trading.

The London market overcame a poor start to finish 8.9 points up at 5172.9 - the sixth straight day of gains - despite a £16.1bn (€17.8bn) rise in UK borrowing.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average made modest gains after falls overnight on Thursday, but there was little fundamental data for investors to get their teeth into.

In London, a quiet day for corporate news saw eyes focused on Lloyds after speculation suggested the bank may be banned from withdrawing from the Government's asset protection scheme.

The part-nationalised group assured that talks were ongoing over a potential alternative to taking part in the asset protection programme. Shares clawed back earlier losses to finish 0.99p higher at 110.67p.

On a mixed day for the sector, HSBC also cheered 12.8p to 730p although other banks were in the red - with Barclays down 4.6p to 373.65p.

Leading the risers board was B&Q parent Kingfisher, up more than 5% after dipping 1% yesterday despite a 35% hike in half-year profits.

The firm added 8.7p to 211.7p after several broker upgrades, while the stock was also helped by a director buying 100,000 shares in the firm.

Next followed close behind, up 53p at 1870p as it continues to benefit from its third profit upgrade in five months earlier this week.

The group - whose shares touched a year-high earlier in the session - had also posted a 6.9% hike in interim pre-tax profits to £185.5m (€205m) after a better-than-expected performance in the six months to July.

In the property sector, British Land was marginally ahead after it agreed to sell half of its £2.13bn (€2.35bn) Broadgate office estate to further cut its exposure to the financial sector.

The company added 17p to 528p, while sector peer Hammerson was 11p up at 439.5p.

Among the food retailers market leader Tesco also advanced 7.6p to 395.6p after brokers at Shore Capital looked forward to strong results later this month. Rival Sainsbury's ticked up half a penny to 335.1p.

Outside the top flight, Songbird Estates was unchanged at 32.5p after announcing it had upped its stake in Canary Wharf with the purchase of a tranche of shares from Commerzbank for £112.5m (€124.34m).

Mining stocks were, meanwhile, suffering a second day of falls, led by Anglo American - off 53p to 2072p.

In the second tier, Babcock International was 5.5p lower at 567p after announcing a deal to buy the commercial arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

The biggest Footsie risers were Kingfisher up 8.7p to 211.7p, British Land up 17p at 528p, Next up 53p to 1870p and Autonomy up 44p to 1574p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Balfour Beatty down 21.6p at 349.7p, Pennon off 27.5p at 476.5p, Tullow Oil off 66p at 1179p and F&C Investment Trust down 7.8p at 240.5p.

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