LONDON (SHARECAST) - - Unilever, Shell, Whitbread, Barclays rise after results/updates
techMARK 2,033.42 -0.25%
FTSE 100 5,753.95 +0.61%
FTSE 250 11,382.22 +0.42%
- Astra, Croda, Admiral provide a drag
- Fed expects growth to 'pick up gradually'
The FTSE 100 was heading for its third consecutive rise on Thursday with some well-received results from Unilever, Royal Dutch Shell, Whitbread and Barclays lifting sentiment early on.
Markets were also reacting to last night's comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who said that monetary policy in the US was "more or less in the right place". "The Committee expects economic growth to remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up gradually," according to the Federal Open Market Committee statement.
FTSE 100: Flurry of updates impress
It has been a relatively busy morning on the corporate news front with investors having to digest a barrage of results and trading updates. Consumer goods giant Unilever was a high riser after saying it had a good start to the year and was on track to hit its full year targets, with turnover increasing by 11.9% in the first quarter.
Oil and gas titan Royal Dutch Shell was in demand after its upstream activities drove a bigger-than-expected increase in the Anglo-Dutch group's first quarter earnings.
Coffee shops, restaurants and hotels operator Whitbread topped expectations with full year profits and sales, with the Costa Coffee chain once again driving growth.
Adjusted profits at UK lender Barclays surged by over a fifth in the first quarter of 2012, well above expectations. Investec reiterated its buy recommendation for Barclays this morning. "As ever, Barcap is the key determinant of Barclays' outturn, and with Barcap revenues up 91% quarter-on-quarter or 3% Q1/Q1, the overall result is, as Bob had promised, very pleasing," the broker said.
Mining and power generation group Kazakhmys was higher after maintaining its full-year copper cathode production targets despite severe weather and transportation issues adversely affecting output in the first quarter of 2012.
However, not all updates were taken well by the market this morning. Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca dropped sharply after seeing profits fall by more than a third in the first quarter after a number of patents ran out and it was hit by tough market conditions.
Meanwhile, car insurer Admiral was lower despite saying it has made a good start to the year with performance in line with management expectations, and British American Tobacco fell as it reported increased revenues and volumes but cautioned that currency effects were affecting results. Speciality chemicals manufacturer Croda International was out of favour despite saying it has achieved record results in the first quarter of 2012.
FTSE 250: Howden jumps after Q1 IMS
Howden Joinery said UK revenue was up 5.9% in the first 16 weeks of 2012 and increased 4% on a same depot basis despite challenging market conditions.
House builder Taylor Wimpey rose after saying the UK housing market conditions remain stable and it is trading at the upper end of company expectations.
Bus and trains operator Go-Ahead Group edged higher after reporting a solid first quarter, with growth seen in both parts of the business, leaving it on track to meet full year expectations.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Unilever (ULVR) 2,160.00p +3.90%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,257.00p +3.11%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,190.00p +2.91%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,707.00p +2.83%
Whitbread (WTB) 1,856.00p +2.60%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 31.25p +2.46%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,475.00p +2.43%
BG Group (BG.) 1,440.50p +2.02%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,540.00p +1.92%
Experian (EXPN) 991.00p +1.90%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 2,748.00p -3.27%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,217.00p -1.82%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,220.00p -0.89%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,401.50p -0.85%
Evraz (EVR) 373.30p -0.61%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,461.50p -0.53%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 535.00p -0.47%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,197.00p -0.33%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 605.50p -0.33%
National Grid (NG.) 664.50p -0.30%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 125.30p +6.46%
Senior (SNR) 210.40p +3.44%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 129.90p +3.10%
Elementis (ELM) 203.60p +3.09%
Laird (LRD) 218.20p +2.68%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 132.20p +2.24%
Drax Group (DRX) 540.50p +2.17%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 128.80p +2.14%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 49.70p +2.14%
EnQuest (ENQ) 124.20p +1.80%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 490.00p -2.68%
Betfair Group (BET) 791.00p -2.29%
Chemring Group (CHG) 332.20p -2.01%
PayPoint (PAY) 633.50p -1.78%
Cobham (COB) 234.80p -1.47%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 679.50p -1.24%
Berendsen (BRSN) 516.00p -1.05%
Carpetright (CPR) 594.00p -1.00%
JPMorgan American Inv Trust (JAM) 904.00p -0.99%
JPMorgan Indian Inv Trust (JII) 334.10p -0.98%