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Bumper day of earnings boosts FTSE

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Fresnillo plc company logo. Photo Illustration: Igor Golovniov/SOPA/LightRocket via Getty Images
Fresnillo plc company logo. Photo Illustration: Igor Golovniov/SOPA/LightRocket via Getty Images

European markets rose on Tuesday in London, buoyed by a bumper round of company financial results.

Top risers for the FTSE were BP (BP.L), Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and Fresnillo (FRES.L).

BP said that it had hiked its half-year dividend by 4%, taking it to 5.46 cents per share, and announced a $1.4bn (£1bn) share buyback. Shares were 59% higher by the end of the day in London.

Standard Chartered also announced a $250m share buyback and restart of its interim dividend payments worth 3 cents per share, or $94m in total.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo told investors of a sharp rise in profitability with a 445.8% increase in half-year profit to $308.4m and a 250.8% jump in adjusted earnings to 41.4 pence a share.

By the closing bell, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was up 0.4%, the DAX (^GDAXI) had fallen back down 0.1% and France's CAC (^FCHI) was up 0.7%.

The FTSE 250 (^FTMC) also gained off the back of earnings from Direct Line (DLG.L), which was up 5.5% by the closing bell, and Hiscox (HSX.L), which gained 6.2%.

The moves also came as UK chancellor Rishi Sunak urged young people back into offices or risk harming their careers.

Ministers said that they “expect and recommend a gradual return [to offices] over the summer”.

The chancellor said in an interview with LinkedIn news that working an office can be "really beneficial" to careers.

The warnings against remote working becoming the norm come as the UK rides out the third wave of coronavirus infections.

On Monday, figures showed that the seven-day average for infections is 27% down from the previous week, while fatalities are up by 20.2%.

By 4.30pm in London, US stocks were still making muted moves. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) ticked up 0.2%, the Dow (^DJI) also headed 0.4% upwards and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) was down 0.3%.

"Yesterday, we saw another underwhelming reading of US ISM spark concerns about economic growth and this forced investors to sell off," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.

Watch: What is inflation and why is it important?

"The focus will be on the US factory order numbers and of course on the Fed’s monetary policy stance. We are going to get some more hints on the Fed’s monetary policy later today when the Fed member Bowman will speak."

Read more: What is stopping employers from introducing four-day weeks?

Overnight in Asia, stocks pulled back. The Nikkei (^N225) fell half a percent, the Hang Seng (^HSI) was down 0.4% and the SSE Composite (000001.SS) had pulled back 0.6% by the close.

Investors are still on high alert following Beijing's regulatory crackdown on tech and education.

A state broadcaster branded video games "electronic drugs", causing a pullback of more than 10% for Tencent and NetEase in early Hong Kong trade.

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