Asset management firm Aberdeen was a high riser after buying sector peer Artio Global Investors for 175m dollars. Canaccord Genuity upgraded the stock to 'buy' this morning 'given the earnings per share expansion from current acquisitions'.
Power systems group Rolls-Royce was also higher after its full-year results, in which it delivered 8.0% growth in underlying revenue and a 24% increase in underlying profits. While results were in line, analysts at Jefferies said that the company's cash flow guidance "may disappoint a number of observers".
BHP Billiton was up following RBC Capital's decision to reaffirm its outperform rating on the stock.
Heading in the other direction was Amec, which was lower after giving a cautious outlook for 2013. The group's underlying revenue growth is expected to slow to a "low-to-mid single digit" rate.
Pharmaceuticals company Shire took a hit on Thursday after admitting that on a US GAAP basis its 2012 operating income fell 14 per cent as it revealed that sales of its Adderall XR product had dropped 19%. In an otherwise upbeat set of results, the company said sales of Adderall has fallen to $429m, primarily due to lower prescription volumes following the approval of a new generic version of the product in the second quarter of 2012. Reported product sales were also affected by the accounting for the settlement of the Impax Laboratories litigation.
Cruise operator Carnival continued to suffer as one of its vessels was slowly towed ashore following an on-board fire which wiped out much of the ship's power. As well, analysts at Morgan Stanley issued a rather downbeat research note on the company yesterday, warning investors not to assume that the company would match the performance of rivals such as Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean given its greater exposure to Europe and the recent sharp rise in fuel costs.
A number of miners were in the red, with Polymetal, Evraz, and ENRC all lower.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,006.00p +2.18%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 425.00p +2.16%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,590.00p +1.77%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,224.50p +1.44%
Diageo (DGE) 1,931.50p +1.36%
Next (NXT) 4,175.00p +1.04%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 264.40p +0.99%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,644.00p +0.86%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 803.50p +0.63%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,526.00p +0.56%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Amec (AMEC) 1,056.00p -6.05%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,038.00p -4.99%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,027.00p -3.30%
Carnival (CCL) 2,500.00p -2.91%
Evraz (EVR) 292.70p -2.66%
Barclays (BARC) 318.55p -2.29%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 747.00p -2.23%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 168.40p -1.89%
Kingfisher (KGF) 275.00p -1.79%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 346.70p -1.76%