Shares in engineer GKN jumped by more than 6 per cent after it said the recovering car market was swelling its order book.
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “There was good news for investors in GKN, which rallied after posting higher profits and raising its dividend with some analysts suggesting that the results have left shares in the car and parts maker undervalued.”
The firm said it expected to make good progress this year despite the strong pound, sending shares up 22.9p to 366p.
Its strong performance helped the wider FTSE 100 gain 19.68 points to 6,807.75, although the index had been higher still for much of the afternoon.
Fashion chain Next was also in demand as better-than-expected sales allowed it to upgrade its profits guidance. The shares lifted 170p to 6,690p, while rival Marks & Spencer took some heart from the news and edged up 0.9p to 438p.
Oil giant BP fell 2.5 per cent, or 12.6p, to 484.3p after warning over the impact that further sanctions on Russia could have on the business. That and subsequent newsflow on measures being prepared by the EU overshadowed a rise in quarterly profits, especially as much of the improvement was due to its 20 per cent stake in Russia’s Rosneft.
Outside of the top flight, temporary power generator APR Energy surged almost 12 per cent, up 60p at 530p, after it reported a number of contract renewals alongside a robust quarterly upgrade.
APR’s blue chip rival Aggreko was 17p higher at 1,774p, as analysts said the numbers showed electricity remained a priority across the world, including trouble spots.