PUMPS and valves maker Weir Group enjoyed share price gains yesterday after a US peer guided profit expectations higher.
The Glasgow-based company added 18p to hit 1,968p after Gardner Denver, a rival to Weir’s SPM subsidiary, said its quarterly earnings would be better than Wall Street had pencilled in.
But the wider FTSE 100 index closed down 1.8 points at 6,179.2 as Japan’s pledge to take more-aggressive steps to boost its economy failed to provide enough momentum to sustain the recent rally. Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said: “A choppy morning session in Europe gave way to a rather more sedate afternoon as US traders returned to their desks after their long weekend break.”
In the UK, a sharp sell-off in morning trading was attributed to reports that the German regulator asked two financial institutions to model a break-up scenario in which they split trading operations from their retail businesses.
UK banks, which may yet face such a scenario for real if ringfencing rules are adopted, felt the chill from across the North Sea. Royal Bank of Scotland was down 1 per cent at 362.9p and Lloyds dropped 0.7 per cent at 52.8p.
Positive broker comment helped a number of blue chip stocks, with B&Q-owner Kingfisher up 4.1p to 273p after Exane BNP Paribas said it was hopeful that this year will be a better one for the retailer.
The same broker also upgraded fashion retailer Next after a recent Christmas trading update highlighted the resilience of the business. Shares were 61p higher at 4,031p.
Outside the top flight, shares in grocery delivery chain Ocado jumped 6 per cent to 101p after it said that former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose will become its new chairman in May.
In New York, stocks closed modestly higher after big companies including DuPont and Travelers reported earnings that came in ahead of Wall Street’s expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62 points to close at 13,712.
Chemical maker DuPont and the insurer Travelers reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. Both stocks rose about 2 per cent, lifting the Dow average.