Rolls-Royce and Lloyds help lead FTSE to a gain

22 February 2024, 17:34

Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group branch closures. Picture: PA

The FTSE 100 closed up by about a third of a per cent on Thursday.

Shares in London’s top index rose on Thursday as earnings-driven news pushed Rolls-Royce and Lloyds Bank close to the top of the table.

Shares rallied after a hefty drop the day before as a strong performance from chipmaker Nvidia boosted stocks worldwide.

By the end of the day the FTSE 100 had risen 21.98 points, or 0.29%, to close at 7,684.49.

The top performer on the FTSE was Beazley, which soared 8.93% after the business announced plans to return an extra £300 million to shareholders.

At the bottom of the index were advertising giant WPP, whose results appear to have disappointed investors on Thursday, and Endeavour mining.

“Stellar Nvidia earnings helped propel the Nikkei 225, Cac 40 and Dax 40 to record highs but the FTSE 100 again lagged,” said Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“Risk on sentiment following another set of bumper Nvidia earnings helped the Nikkei 225 overcome its 1989 peak and hit record highs, as did the French and German blue chip indices.

“They did so despite European Central Bank officials agreeing that it is premature to talk about rate cuts and as the German PMI data showed that the economic downturn deepened.”

Frankfurt’s Dax index closed up 1.47%, while the Cac 40 in Paris rose 1.34% on the day.

In New York the S&P 500 had gained 1.63%, while the Dow Jones was 0.67% higher shortly after markets in Europe closed.

On currency markets the pound had gained 0.05% against the dollar at 1.2644 and had risen 0.12% against the euro at 1.1694.

In company news, Lloyds Banking Group announced a 57% hike in pre-tax profit, hitting £7.5 billion last year and beating expectations.

Shares in the bank ended third on the FTSE 100 after rising by 6.16%.

Meanwhile Rolls-Royce finished up 8.29% after it said it had swung to a £2.4 billion profit last year. The company reported revenue that was better than expected at £16.5 billion, up 22%.

Elsewhere shares in Indivior soared 22.42% after saying that it is mulling a move of its shares to the US, away from its FTSE 250 listing in London.

Diageo shares did not seem to react to the news that the company might be looking to sell off the Pimm’s brand and two others. Analysts said Pimm’s only makes up about 0.2% of Diageo’s sales.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Beazley, up 52p to 634p, Rolls-Royce, up 27.3p to 356.8p, Lloyds, up 2.67p to 45.95p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 34.4p to 797p, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals, up 85.5p to 2083p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were WPP, down 49.8p to 730.6p, Endeavour Mining, down 62p to 1250p, Tesco, down 8.7p to 276.8p, Land Securities, down 16.2p to 629.6p, and Sainsbury’s, down 5.2p to 254.1p.

By Press Association