(Sharecast News) – London stocks edged higher in early trade on Friday as investors mulled a policy shift from the Bank of Japan and results from the likes of NatWest, Standard Chartered and IAG.
At 0825 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,705.18.
Earlier, the BoJ maintained negative interest rates but said it would now allow “greater flexibility” in its target range for 10-year government bond yields.
The country’s strict yield curve control policy would now allow movements of around plus and minus 0.5% without “rigid limits,” the central bank said.
It also offered to buy 10-year bonds at 1% every business day through fixed-rate operations, expanding its tolerance by another 50 basis points. Yields for the bonds stood at 0.539%, their highest level since September 2014.
The BOJ said it will “conduct yield curve control with greater flexibility, regarding the upper and lower bounds the range as references, not as rigid limits, in its market operations”.
In UK equity markets, StanChart rallied to the top of the FTSE 100 as it lifted annual guidance and launched a $1bn share buyback after first-half profits rose 20% on the back of soaring interest rates.
Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca gained sharply as its second-quarter results beat estimates.
NatWest edged up as it reported better-than-expected interim profits only days after it was rocked by the resignation of chief executive Alison Rose over the leaking of details of hard-right former political party leader Nigel Farage.
The bank posted pre-tax profit of £3.6bn, up from £2.6bn a year earlier and better than the £3.3bn estimated by analysts. It also announced a £500m share buyback.
British Airways and Iberia owner IAG flew higher as it posted a record first-half profit, hailing a strong performance across the group.
In the six months to 30 June, the company swung to an operating profit before exceptional items of €1.3bn from a loss of €466m in the same period a year earlier. IAG pointed to sustained strong demand across the network, and a particularly strong showing from the Spanish business.
On the downside, Vanquis Bank tumbled after interim results, while Darktrace dropped after Summit Partners sold 20.8m shares in the cyber security firm in a placing.
Property portal Rightmove was in the red even as it backed full-year expectations as it reported a jump in first-half profit as revenues saw their biggest increase in five years despite a challenging backdrop.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,705.18 0.16%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,222.10 -0.27%
techMARK (TASX) 4,465.77 0.20%
FTSE 100 – Risers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 742.60p 4.68%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 11,032.00p 3.10%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 158.75p 2.45%
BT Group (BT.A) 125.25p 1.09%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 647.70p 0.84%
BAE Systems (BA.) 928.40p 0.76%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 807.00p 0.75%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,658.00p 0.64%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,202.00p 0.51%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 1,840.00p 0.44%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
IMI (IMI) 1,600.00p -2.74%
St James’s Place (STJ) 971.40p -2.21%
Rightmove (RMV) 540.40p -2.21%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 626.60p -2.19%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 631.00p -1.62%
WPP (WPP) 846.00p -1.47%
Aviva (AV.) 393.90p -1.38%
SEGRO (SGRO) 761.80p -1.37%
Entain (ENT) 1,366.00p -1.37%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 519.60p -1.29%
FTSE 250 – Risers
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 365.00p 2.76%
Indivior (INDV) 1,864.00p 2.14%
Digital 9 Infrastructure NPV (DGI9) 57.70p 2.12%
Energean (ENOG) 1,159.00p 1.85%
Trainline (TRN) 264.60p 1.77%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 177.00p 1.75%
Coats Group (COA) 70.80p 1.58%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 160.55p 1.55%
Ithaca Energy (ITH) 163.60p 1.36%
Quilter (QLT) 79.35p 1.34%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
Vanquis Banking Group 20 (VANQ) 141.60p -21.77%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 441.40p -2.82%
Darktrace (DARK) 380.00p -2.79%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 602.00p -2.75%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,108.00p -2.72%
Future (FUTR) 782.00p -2.37%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 144.80p -2.23%
Playtech (PTEC) 565.00p -1.82%
Empiric Student Property (ESP) 86.40p -1.82%
FirstGroup (FGP) 146.10p -1.75%