Robust third quarter updates from the likes of BP and insurance giant Aviva helped drive further gains on London’s blue chip share index today.
The FTSE 100 Index leapt more than 1% ahead, up 61.2 points to 5755.8, as blue chip heavyweights reported back on recent trading and as investors eyed a stronger session on Wall Street.
BP, Aviva and Imperial Tobacco were among those seeing gains in the Footsie, although a confident third quarter update from Lloyds Banking Group failed to see it make advances as it dropped 2% after recent gains.
Cillit Bang and Dettol households products firm Reckitt Benckiser featured high up on the risers board after its figures met expectations and it set new targets for revenues and profits growth of 6% and 16% respectively.
Shares were 82p higher at 3607p, a rise of 2% and just ahead of BP after the oil giant took another step in its recovery with better-than-expected third quarter profits of $5.5bn when excluding the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
While there was no new guidance on BP’s possible resumption of dividend payments, shares lifted 7p to 431p.
Shares in oil and gas exploration company BG Group were likewise on the rise, ahead 34p to 1244.5p, after it upgraded its Brazilian oil and gas reserves estimate by around a third and reported a 6.7% rise in third-quarter profits.
Insurer Aviva was another high-profile stock on the front foot after it announced plans for another £400m of cost savings and efficiencies and reported long-term savings figures in line with expectations. Shares responded with a rise of 6.2p to 403.8p.
There was a similar reaction to full-year results from Imperial Tobacco, which rose 62p to 2059p after it lifted profits by 10% with the help of price rises and strong sales gains in emerging markets.
But there was further shares pain for outsourcing giant Serco, which fell another 4% after yesterday’s 4% plunge after it apologised over a letter to suppliers demanding a rebate and pledged it would not pass on Government spending cuts.
Its shares were 23.5p lower at 563.5p.
Lloyds joined it, down 1.6p to 68p, as news that it remains on track for full year profits – its first since being bailed out by the Government – failed to fuel share rises.
Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland also eased back, down 0.9p to 272.7p and 0.3p to 45.3p respectively.