Domestic lender Lloyds rose into the top spot after saying that underlying profits rose by over a fifth in the first quarter and it continues to expect to apply to regulators in the second half to restart dividend payments. That came as it announced TSB bank is due to float in London before the end of June, selling at least a 25 per cent stake of the recovering business.
Most of Lloyds's key financial metrics continued to 'appreciate measurably' in the first quarter, according to Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers. "Lloyds is often seen as a proxy for the UK economy, and although they are inextricably linked, both are beginning to prosper after a long period of austerity," said Head of Equities Richard Hunter.
Profits at oil and gas company BG Group rose as it regained losses incurred earlier in the week, which came on the back of lower production volumes and higher costs, as well as the surprise exit of its Chief Executive.
Earnings fell 2.4% at BSkyB in the third quarter despite a rise in revenues, but continued investment in connected television services was repaid with better-than-expected new subscriptions, pushing shares
higher throughout today's session.
Communications services giant WPP was higher after announcing it has acquired Canadian creative digital marketing agency Twist Image Multimedia.
Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline rose after it announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its Incruse medication, Ellipta.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury, Tesco and Morrison were all notable fallers this afternoon after the latter unveiled plans to slash the price of 1,2000 products by as much as 60% in an effort to take a greater slice of the market share. As many as 40% of the products will be own-brand items. Broker Bernstein said the size of the move marked "a big departure" and said the company was "dropping the ultimate bomb".
Scottish engineering group Weir declined after Numis Securities downgraded its rating for the stock from 'add' to 'hold', saying that it sees little upside after the stock's recent strong run. That came after the group posted in line trading in the last four months.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce fell into the red after saying that full-year revenues and profits are likely to be hit by foreign exchange
headwinds with underlying results flat.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 79.00p +4.83%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,218.00p +4.10%
BG Group (BG.) 1,235.50p +3.13%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,623.00p +2.92%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 306.90p +2.71%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 900.50p +2.33%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,342.00p +2.11%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,868.00p +1.95%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 411.90p +1.93%
Royal Mail (RMG) 539.50p +1.89%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 323.10p -3.75%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,603.00p -3.23%
Tesco (TSCO) 284.45p -2.90%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 218.45p -2.46%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 770.00p -2.16%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,690.00p -1.88%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,031.00p -1.81%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 197.90p -1.49%
Fresnillo (FRES) 839.00p -1.47%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,561.50p -1.30%