A bigger-than-expected profits haul from oil giant BP helped the FTSE 100 Index regain its poise today, while signs of a pickup in the economy also boosted sentiment.
London’s main market closed 35.9 points higher at 6,282.8 in a marked recovery after yesterday’s 100-point slump on concerns over the eurozone, which brought the Footsie’s spectacular new year rally to an abrupt halt.
The more buoyant mood was helped by further signs that the UK economy might avoid a triple-dip recession, with a purchasing managers’ survey for the powerhouse services sector showing a return to growth in January.
BP added 1%, or 6.7p to 468.7p after it posted better-than-expected fourth quarter profits of £2.5billion.
Arm Holdings, whose chip designs are used in Apple products, was also near the top of the risers’ board after it reported fourth quarter results ahead of market expectations. Shares were 4%, or 39p higher at £9.31p.
Banking shares were back in favour after losses yesterday, when Chancellor George Osborne confirmed lenders could be broken up if they did not adhere to new ring-fencing rules.
Barclays shares were 3.8p higher at 295.25p today, despite it upping its provision for redress related to mis-selling.
Royal Bank of Scotland was 8.9p higher at 337.5p as investors waited for news of its fine over the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
Outside the top flight, broadband group TalkTalk Telecom fell 4%, or 11.4p to £2.42 despite further progress in its recovery plan.
Barry Shepherd, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted Aberdeen Asset Management gaining 1.6% to 407.3p and Cairn Energy 1.7% higher at 291.5p.
Fallers included Aggreko – down 1.1% to £15.81 – and Parkmead Group, which shed 1.7% to 14.75p.