- Annual UK GDP growth revised higher
- Ukraine crisis in focus as Russian convoy nears border
- BHP leads miners higher on demerger comments
techMARK 2,755.64 +0.22%
FTSE 100 6,689.08 +0.06%
FTSE 250 15,667.81 -0.05%
Gains in London stocks petered out towards the end of trading after the Ukrainian government announced that its military had attacked and destroyed part of a Russian armoured column.
Andriy Lysenko, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian army, told journalists that the armoured Russian column had been tracked from the moment it had crossed the border.
Even so, the Footsie managed to dodge the losses which dragged its European peers
sharply lower, after an upgrade to UK second-quarter growth estimates and a jump in the share prices
of 3i and mining giant BHP Billiton.
The Office for National Statistics' second estimate of annual UK gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the April-to-June period was lifted unexpectedly to 3.2%.
This was up 10 basis points from the original prediction on the back of a strong construction sector and marked the strongest annual growth rate in over six years. The estimate for quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.8% was left unchanged.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.06% at 6,689.08 by the end of trading.
Disappointing indicators from China and a stagnation in Europe spurred hopes in recent days that policymakers will step in to give growth a boost. Easing concerns about an early rate hike by the Bank of England were also supporting stocks after the central bank warned about weak wage growth in the UK.
Comments on Thursday from Russian President Vladimir Putin about ending the crisis in Ukraine had earlier helped investor risk appetite in London, as well as the resignation of Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Maliki overnight as he supported the formation of a new government.
BHP gains on demerger comments
BHP Billiton shares
were higher after the miner said that it is considering a demerger of certain assets in an effort to make the business "simpler and more productive".
The company, reiterated its focus on its "four pillars" - iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum - with potash being a potential fifth, suggesting that nickel, aluminium and bauxite assets could be spun off. It will update the market after the board reconvenes next week.
Other miners such as Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Glencore also performed well.
Shares in Smith & Nephew were under pressure after analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded the medical devices maker from 'overweight' to 'equal weight'. The bank said that even if US peer Stryker returns with a bid in November, the deal "remains uncertain" and the stock "could start to lose its M&A premium of around 10%" in the near term.
Construction group Balfour Beatty slipped lower after reaffirming its rejection of a takeover proposal by Carillion, branding it "opportunistic" and accusing Carillion of wanting to reduce Balfour's UK construction revenues by up to two-thirds. Carillion's shares were firmly lower in morning trade.
FTSE 100 - Risers
3i Group (III) 377.00p +1.70%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 907.50p +1.45%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 173.10p +1.41%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,050.00p +1.21%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,106.00p +1.19%
Whitbread (WTB) 4,275.00p +1.14%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 311.70p +1.14%
Tesco (TSCO) 248.00p +1.14%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 696.00p +1.02%
Experian (EXPN) 1,032.00p +0.98%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,018.00p -2.21%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,005.00p -2.14%
Royal Mail (RMG) 435.60p -1.80%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 643.50p -1.21%
G4S (GFS) 263.70p -1.09%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,065.00p -1.07%
Rexam (REX) 496.70p -0.96%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,134.00p -0.87%
TUI Travel (TT.) 366.60p -0.84%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 807.00p -0.74%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Afren (AFR) 103.80p +6.57%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,804.00p +4.58%
Genus (GNS) 1,109.00p +3.94%
Perform Group (PER) 214.10p +3.43%
Premier Oil (PMO) 336.80p +3.15%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 540.50p +3.15%
Unite Group (UTG) 426.00p +2.95%
Exova Group (EXO) 235.00p +2.62%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 661.00p +2.48%
Computacenter (CCC) 625.50p +2.46%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 66.50p -4.86%
SVG Capital (SVI) 410.00p -4.54%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 190.00p -4.47%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 161.90p -4.20%
Carillion (CLLN) 333.10p -3.95%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 303.50p -3.56%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 246.30p -3.41%
Just Eat (JE.) 254.00p -3.05%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 100.20p -3.00%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 181.00p -2.58%