Forecast-beating earnings news sent shares in three FTSE 100 constituents to the top of a rising London index, helping cheer the mood as traders continue to anticipate a eurozone rate cut.
Lloyds Banking Group topped the leaderboard, up 5.5 per cent to 56.5p as it raised its guidance for the full year after reporting a 19 per cent rise in core underlying profit of £1.871bn.
BP was in second place after its first-quarter numbers were also better than forecast.
Underlying replacement cost profit, the industry earnings benchmark, fell to $4.2bn from $4.7bn a year earlier, but up from $3.9bn in the preceding quarter and better than the $3.27bn predicted. Shares in the oil major rose 2.4 per cent at 467.7p.
Whitbread took third place, up 1 per cent to £26.37 after its annual earnings were lifted by strong demand at its Costa Coffee chain. Annual profit rose 11.4 per cent to £356.5m, in line with forecasts and from revenue of £2bn, up 14.2 per cent.
Overall, the FTSE 100 was 10 points stronger at 6,468.58, a rise of 0.2 per cent.
Traders across global markets continued to expect a rate cut from the European Central Bank at its next meeting on Thursday, after more weak data from the eurozone. The Spanish economy continued to contract, as the recession in Spain entered its seventh quarter.
Gas distributor Centrica was the biggest single faller, down 2.1 per cent at 371.8p after analysts at Credit Suisse cut their rating on the stock to “neutral” from “underperform”. The stock lost 2.2 per cent to 371.2p.
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