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FTSE jumps as slew of strong company earnings drive rally

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Shell and Anglo American were among a torrent of firms to post strong earnings updates and push the FTSE 100 higher on Thursday.

Rentokil and Informa were also among big winners after their own upgrades as European traders were in a jubilant mood, having been boosted by a rebound in the Asian markets before the opening bell in London.

London’s top flight closed 61.79 points, or 0.88%, higher at 7,078.42 on Thursday.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “No-one would begrudge investors heading home to pop open a bottle of fizz – it’s just been that kind of a day.

“A bumper crop of earnings bolstered by news of some hefty dividend payouts and nothing too challenging emerging from across the Atlantic.

“After months of restrictions, recovery isn’t just being talked about, it’s being lived.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the other major markets were lifted by the upswing in sentiment but made smaller gains than the FTSE.

The German Dax increased by 0.45% and the French Cac moved 0.37% higher.

Across the Atlantic, the US markets made gains despite broadly disappointing economic data after GDP increased by 6.5% in the second quarter, significantly below predictions of 8.5%.

Meanwhile, sterling rebounded to its best position against the dollar for a month and also climbed against the euro.

The pound was up 0.07% versus the US dollar at 1.396 and was 0.06% higher against the euro at 1.175.

In company news, Royal Dutch Shell shares bounded as it upped its dividend and started buying back millions of shares from investors after the business broke through performance expectations.

Shares in both listed Royal Dutch Shell businesses were around 3.8% higher at the end of trading.

BT slid to the foot of the FTSE 100 after the telecoms giant said a tough quarter for its global division dragged its total revenues lower.

The global arm had suffered from more challenging conditions than predicted and contributed to around three-quarters of the company’s lost revenue.

Shares in the company were 12.05p lower at 171.9p at the close of play.

Catering giant Compass soared after it said it expects to trade at between 80% and 85% of pre-pandemic levels in the next quarter as it is buoyed by the reopening of global economies.

Shares in the firm leapt by 55p to 1,553.5p after it said operating margins are also expected to improve.

Lloyds Banking Group dipped despite swinging to a £3.9 billion half-year profit after reducing its bad debt provisions.

It closed 0.58p lower at 46.2p on Thursday.

The price of crude oil bounced above 75 dollars a barrel for the first time in two weeks as trading was aided by the decline in US inventories to their lowest levels since the start of 2020.

Brent crude increased by 1.02% to 75.5 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Rentokil, up 35.6p at 563p, Informa, up 27.8p at 511.8p, Anglo American, up 167.5p at 3,293p, and Royal Dutch Shell B, up 54p at 1,438p.

The biggest fallers of the day were BT Group, down 12.05p at 171.9p, Smith & Nephew, down 99p at 1,464.5p, Weir Group, down 113.5p at 1,790p, and SSE, down 61p at 1,472.5p.

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