THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: Bumper results can’t keep Footsie up

Shell set the pace with a rise of nearly 3 per cent. Picture: Getty
Shell set the pace with a rise of nearly 3 per cent. Picture: Getty
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A STRONG performance by Royal Dutch Shell failed to keep the FTSE 100 Index in positive territory after disappointing US data.

The index fell 43.33 points to 6,730.11, after US figures showed that mortgage approvals fell to lower levels than a year ago, suggesting the US economic recovery is still tentative.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “Energy stocks have dominated the FTSE movers list throughout the day as both Shell and BG Group posted pleasing second-quarter figures. Heartened by its peers performance while being marginally oversold, BP has seen its shares bounce although only making up a fraction of the ground lost over the last couple of days.”

Shell set the pace with a rise of nearly 3 per cent, up 66.5p to 2,555.5p, while BP added 2.25p to 484p. But BG Group was off 8.5p at 1,172p, drifting lower after initial relief that it avoided further shocks for investors in its second-quarter update.

The group, which has been hit by downgrades caused by disruption in Egypt, reported a 25 per cent rise in profits to $1.37 billion (£810 million). But analysts noted that it had not changed full-year targets.

Rolls Royce was among the fallers after its half-year results showed the strong pound adding to the expected problems caused by tightening defence budgets in the west. Its shares were 15p lower at 1,040p.

BT was on the rise in the wake of results, with a gain of 0.6p to 388.5p. But drinks giant Diageo slipped 3p to 1,786p after its full-year figures.

Away from corporate results, shares in Balfour Beatty fell almost 6 per cent or 14.8p to 237.9p after it announced it had terminated merger discussions with Carillion. The latter was off 18.9p to 334.3p, with its insistence that it was still interested in a tie-up helping both stocks to pare their losses.