The benchmark FTSE 100 share index pushed ahead today as its biggest stock HSBC rose after solid results, outweighing weakness in the airline and engineering sectors following profit warnings.
HSBC rose 2.3 per cent, or 15.7p, to 703p in its biggest one-day rise in four months after quarterly profits rose strongly.
The banking group, which accounts for 7.5 per cent of the FTSE 100’s capitalisation, was responsible for nearly half the index’s gains.
The FTSE 100 closed up 28.88 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,763.62, moving back towards a five-month high of 6,819 hit last week.
Technical analysts said that the break above the August high of 6,696.63, followed by the move above the psychologically key 6,700 level have opened the door for more gains, with the May peak at 6,875.62 as the next key target.
Broad sentiment also benefited from growing expectations that the European Central Bank will focus on stimulating the economy at this week’s meeting, with some even seeing a chance of an interest rate cut following a surprise drop in inflation.
Aside from HSBC, the corporate newsflow offered some cause for caution. Ryanair’s poorly-received results also weighed on rival EasyJet which closed down 66p, or 5.1 per cent, at 1,230p.
Shares in Glasgow-based power provider Aggreko dropped 33p to 1,551p despite the news that former SSE chief executive Ian Marchant, a non-executive director, had purchased 3,500 shares at 1,588p.
Shares in document management firm Idox, which has a base in Glasgow, plunged by 17.1 per cent, or 6.5p, to 31.5p after it warned on full-year profits.