Bullish results from housebuilder Galliford Try and recruitment firm Hays helped the FTSE 250 Index outshine its top-tier partner today.
The FTSE 100 Index fell 11.7 points to 5,916.6 amid weak eurozone and Chinese economic data and continued worries about whether Greece’s second rescue deal would save the debt-ravaged nation from default.
The mood in the second tier was boosted by a series of better-than-expected results, helping it rise 0.6%.
In London’s FTSE 250 Index, Galliford Try rose 9% after it revealed an 89% surge in pre-tax profits in the six months to December 31. Shares were up 44p to 545p.
Hays was another leading riser as it offset trading pressures in the UK and Ireland to post a 24% improvement in interim profits. Shares rallied 8% or 6.4p to 87.4p, even though the company cut its dividend.
The mood in London’s leading shares index remained depressed as the weaker eurozone figures compounded a preliminary reading on an HSBC index suggesting China’s manufacturing may shrink for a fourth month in a row in February.
This hit miners with Vedanta Resources the biggest faller, down 5% or 73p at £13.80.
The biggest Footsie risers were Rexam up 28.6p to 413p, Capita ahead 42p to 688.5p, Meggitt up 7.5p at 388.2p, and BG Group ahead 27.5p at £15.08.
The biggest Footsie fallers included Evraz off 15.7p at 397p, Barclays down 8.6p at 239.2p and Hargreaves Lansdown off 16.5p at 465p.
Steven McKay, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted Premier Oil jumped 3.1% to 439.6p, Wood Group added 2.4% to 726.25p and EnQuest added 2.4% to finish at 124.45p.
On the faller’s board, Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 3.1% to 27.33p, Standard Life fell 0.8% to 232.1p and BP closed 0.15% lower at 496.95p.