LONDON (ShareCast) - The media sector was on the up on Thursday as strong gains for FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) heavyweights ITV (LSE: ITV.L - news) , Reed Elsevier (LSE: REL.L - news) and WPP (LSE: WPP.L - news) provided a lift.
Terrestrial broadcaster ITV was up nearly 5.0% before the close, one day after rewarding shareholders with a special dividend worth £156m as it posted 2012 results which showed a rise in profits and revenues.
The stock was given an extra lift by Westhouse Securities which upgraded its rating from 'add' to 'buy' today. Analyst Roddy Davidson said that he was pleased with the results, "which provided confirmation that the transformation of ITV remains firmly on track plus a clear reminder of its compelling cash flow characteristics".
Reed Elsevier, the publishing and events group, was up 1.8% after reporting a rise in revenues for 2012, driven by volume growth, new products and expansion in lucrative markets. The firm also increased its dividend by 7.0%.
Advertising and media group WPP rose 1.7% ahead of its full-year results on Friday. Consensus estimates are for the group to report revenues of £10.38bn, up from £10.02bn previously.
The company said on Thursday that it had acquired a majority stake in the Istanbul-based digital advertising agency CS Reklam Hizmetleri Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.Ş, which specialises in creating microsites, apps and digital campaigns for the Turkish market.
Elsewhere, AIM-listed TV software and services company Motive Television rocketed today, up nearly 50%, as the Mobile World Congress continues in Barcelona.
The company said last week that it would be unveiling its new 'Mocast' solution for 4G LTE at the congress to network operators.
The product helps networks to reduce peak demand congestion and manage delivery of on-demand video content, "thereby cutting investment in capacity, capturing lost revenue, and increasing ARPU, as well as providing a better experience for the viewer".
Top performing sectors so far today
Automobiles & Parts 6,443.71 +4.31%
Real Estate Investment & Services 2,065.21 +1.63%
Media 5,278.73 +1.57%
Travel & Leisure 5,920.97 +1.54%
Real Estate Investment Trusts 2,241.94 +1.29%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Industrial Metals & Mining 2,749.96 -1.45%
Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 23,390.81 -1.30%
Mining 19,583.69 -0.94%
Fixed Line Telecommunications 3,162.53 -0.33%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 10,028.04 -0.18%