London’s main market held firm today despite news of a shock 0.7% slump in UK output.
The FTSE 100 Index clung near its opening mark, down 0.9 points at 5,498.3, after figures revealed the biggest quarterly fall in UK gross domestic product for more than three years.
Chip designer ARM Holdings, whose products are found in smartphones and tablet computers, jumped to the top of the risers’ board after it reported a bigger-than-expected 23% year-on-year rise in profits for the second quarter.
The strong results offset any disappointment from ARM customer Apple, which yesterday revealed lower-than-expected revenue and net income growth in its third quarter. Shares in ARM jumped 9%, or 41.7p to 526.5p.
Other big Footsie risers included Capita ahead 36p at 713.5p, Royal Bank of Scotland up 6.8p at 203.4p and Randgold Resources ahead £1.60 at £55.75.
Telecoms group BT moved in the other direction after its first quarter revenue performance disappointed investors. The group posted a 6% year-on-year fall to £4.5billion for the three months to June 30, reflecting “tough conditions in Europe”.
Profit-taking after a recent strong run for the blue-chip stock was also blamed for a 7.2p decline in shares to 210.2p.
The Footsie’s other big fallers included Tullow Oil down 86p at £12.84, SSE off 70p at £12.94 and Evraz down 4p at 211.5p.
Outside the top flight, low-cost airline easyJet moved 11.5p higher to 542.5p after it revealed a strong summer, buoyed by demand from Britons fed up with the wet weather and the impact of falling jet fuel prices.
But power station operator Drax was nearly 15% lower, leaving the FTSE 250 Index-listed stock at its lowest level in more than a year.
Drax highlighted “good progress” on its biomass research and development work but warned investors that its costs this year were likely to be £20million higher than previously expected. Shares were 76.5p lower at £4.42.
Barry Shepherd, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted Parkmead Group 2.04% higher at 12.625p and Amec adding 1.23% to £10.69.
Faroe Petroleum lost 1.8% at 136.75p and Cairn Energy fell 0.48% to 269.05p.