Improved profits results for BT Group and Royal & Sun Alliance helped to leave the FTSE 100 hanging ...
Improved profits results for BT Group and Royal & Sun Alliance helped to leave the FTSE 100 hanging just 10 points under the 4,000 barrier by close of business.
Despite also reporting a £6.3bn "black hole" in its pension fund, BT Group today revealed net income of £1.65bn in the first quarter, compared with a loss £2.6bn last time, which traders all saw as a vast improvement after a painful cost-cutting exercise.
This helped the FTSE 100 index to climb 54 points or 1.4% to 3990.4, as BT Group rose 3.5p or 1.9% to 189p. Royal & SunAlliance also gained 15.5p or 13% to 135p after reporting Q1 profits rose 9.4% thanks to a cut in claim payouts and a rise in premiums.
Baltimore Technologies - once one of the tech stock darlings - also saw its share price leap 7.75p or 31% to 33p as it has plans to find a buyer for the firm by the end of June.
Celltech, the biotechnology firm which is buying Oxford GlycoSciences, also climbed 19.75p or 7% to 298.25p as it is on schedule to complete the £100m deal.
Mothercare also rose 19.5p or 16% to 142p after reversing its bad sales and boosting profits within the first two months of the fiscal year.
Holmes Place, however, has seen its value drop 1.5p or 5.7% to 25p after accepting a takeover bid from directors which sees the firm sold for 25p per share or £25.4m.
In the US, trading has also been confident as a survey of economists suggests earnings growth could be on the turn, just as Fed Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan predicted.
Technology stocks appear to have been making some form of comeback today on the back of positive new, as Microsoft climbed 14c to $24.17 and smaller technology manufacturer Synopsys leapt $8.40 to $59.30 because of improved profits.
This helped to lift the Dow Jones 63.9 points or 0.8% to 8580.6 by midday EST while the S&P 500 gained 6.4 points or 0.7% to 929.7 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 15.65 points or 1.1% to 1505.46.
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