BP and Shell push FTSE higher

Banks were among the top risers on the blue-chip index as speculation increases that a US interest rate hike will happen this month.

Standard Chartered (STAN) and high street bank HSBC (HSBA) gained by 2.3% and 1.7% respectively.

Oil giants BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) rose by at least 1.7% as they both offer the market greater confidence on their respective growth prospects.

The companies are among the top constituents in the FTSE 100 and helped the index move 0.9% higher.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil slipped approximately 0.2% higher to $54 and $56.67 per barrel, respectively.

Gold fell 0.7% to $1,244 per ounce and copper rallied 1.4% to $6,040 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

In the US, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones closed on Monday in the red as US President Donald Trump’s promise to deliver tax relief failed to excite the market thanks to a lack of details.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rallied 1.4% on Wednesday as a weaker yen boosted exports from the country.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Shanghai’s SSE Composite failed to follow Japan’s lead and closed flat today.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Broadcaster of The Voice ITV (ITV) was 2.2% despite pre-tax profits falling from £641m to £553m as net advertising revenues declined by 3%. CEO Adam Crozier said ITV Studios will return to good organic sales growth in 2017 and reported a 5p special dividend on top of a 20% hike in the full year payout to 7.2p.

Road building materials business CRH (CRH) impressed the market after revealing margins and returns were ahead in every division and year-end debt was ahead of target. There was also a positive development strategy update, which highlighted recent acquisitions and divestments.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

The largest coking coal producer in Russia, Evraz (EVR), rallied on strong full year results thanks to a surge in the coking coal price as well as cost-cutting initiatives. CEO Alexander Frolov remained ‘cautiously optimistic about the market environment’ and believes Evraz will generate resilient free cash flow.

Investors were relieved that outsourcer Mitie (MTO) disposed of its loss-making social care division to specialist healthcare investor Apposite for £2.

Land Rover distributor Inchcape (INCH) sustained its track record of growth in 2016. Management said it is performing well in emerging markets and profits from used vehicles and aftersales were strong.

Chemicals group Elementis (ELM) cheapened 4.2% on a sharp decline in full year profits. This was caused by the stronger dollar and lower oil prices, which hurt its chromium business and negatively impacted demand in the energy sector.

International Personal Finance (IPF) crashed 9% on a £23.5m slump in pre-tax profits to £92.6m for 2016, reflecting lower home credit profit and higher investment in its digital business.

Investment manager Man Group (EMG) fell into the red for 2016, which CEO Luke Ellis described as ‘a challenging year for the investment management industry’.

SMALL CAPS RISERS AND FALLERS

Cyber security firm NCC (NCC) announced Rob Cotton has stepped down as CEO with immediate effect, which wasn’t a surprise following recent profit warnings. Brian Tenner will take over as interim CEO and lead a strategic review.

IGAS (IGAS) plummeted 25.3% as it seeks to raise additional funds through shareholders to ‘capitalise on value accretive opportunities.

Troubled courier business DX (DX.) suffered more bad news as its proposed plans for developing a new central hub at a site in Essington in the West Midlands was declined by the local authority.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Merryn

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