Broadcaster ITV was in positive focus as better-than-expected figures helped it jump to the top of the FTSE 100 risers’ board.
The stock was up almost 6 per cent, adding 12.7p to 234.5p, as it also cheered investors with the special dividend windfall.
Dividends were also the key point for investors in Standard Chartered, as the Asia-focused bank preserved its payment despite a drop in profits. It added 49.8p to 1,024p.
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “One silver lining has been seen in Standard Chartered whose shares have soared with news that the dividend should remain unscathed despite the worsening economic situation in South East Asia.”
Meanwhile Barclays was also on the risers’ board as the stock rebounded from Tuesday’s results day losses. The stock was up more than 3 per cent at 262.4p even as broker UBS trimmed its target price for the shares.
The wider FTSE 100 Index experienced a late turnaround in its fortunes, and closed 30.11 points stronger at 6919.24 after spending much of the session in the red.
The uncertain mood came on the eve of China revealing its official growth target for this year, with Premier Li Keqiang expected to lower the forecast to 7 per cent, from last year’s 7.5 per cent.
In the commodities sector, Glencore was 7.95p lower at 283.25p, Rio Tinto was down 61.5p at 3,073.5p and Anglo American fell 37.5p to 1,167p.
Insurer Legal & General was 7.9p lower at 270.3p as its 10 per cent growth in operating profits was judged to be on the light side of the premium priced in by the City.
The FTSE 100 faces further headwinds in the morning as a raft of heavyweights including HSBC and Rio Tinto are due to go ex-dividend. They are estimated to take around 14 points off the index first thing.