Britain’s top share index rose on Tuesday, with well-received results from heavyweight BP helping underpin gains in a positive start to the first trading day of the month. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent at 7,235.30 points by 0855 GMT, in line with a broadly positive European market. Oil major BP was among standout performers, its shares up 1.8 percent after its profit nearly tripled in the first quarter of 2017.
Higher oil prices and production helped BP report a first-quarter underlying replacement cost profit, the company’s definition of net income, of $1.51 billion, beating analysts’ average forecast of $1.26 billion. “The broader theme is that BP is looking in better shape because of the higher oil price, and while oil prices hold their ground, BP, alongside with all of the other oil companies are going to benefit,” Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said.
“Part of the attraction with BP is that they started the cost cutting before some of the big oil majors because of Deepwater (Horizon), but now as the oil price does continue to hold up, maybe you don’t necessarily want as much cost cutting anymore, you want to start expanding,” Lawler added, referring to BP’s deadly Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.
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Precious metals miners were on the backfoot, however, with both Fresnillo and Randgold Resources dropping 2.6 percent after the price of gold, considered a ‘safe haven’ asset, held near three-week lows as equities rallied and the dollar gained. Banking stocks Barclays and Standard Chartered were also weaker, as were miners Glencore and Anglo American.
Outside of the blue chips, online supermarket Ocado jumped 6.7 percent after a media report said that the company was exploring a delivery tie-up with Marks & Spencer. Earnings also drove shares in Aberdeen Asset Management, which rose 3.4 percent after it reported a 10.6 percent rise in first-half revenues, boosted by market gains and cost cuts. It also saw a slowdown in the pace of outflows from its funds, a boost as the company prepares to merge with blue-chip peer Standard Life, whose shares rose 2.4 percent.
Just Eat fell more than 4 percent, however, after reporting first quarter results, with UK order growth in particular disappointing. “A tough quarter for (Just Eat), hard comps and some operational issues evident. Given that, a solid outcome, investor sentiment may home in on the UK and +16.5% order growth, consistent with the FY17 guide,” David Reynolds, equity analyst at Jefferies, said in a note.
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Susan Fenton)