Markets: Asset managers give Footsie a boost

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Financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown saw its shares jump 11 per cent yesterday as it hailed record half-year results and assets under its management topped £30 billion.

Its stock was up 82.5p at 817p as the firm, which serves investors through its Vantage fund supermarket, reported a 30 per cent rise in profits for the last six months of 2012, to £93.7 million. And it hiked its interim dividend by almost a quarter to 6.3p.

Stuart Duncan, an analyst at Peel Hunt, said: “Hargreaves remains well positioned to continue to attract clients and assets, with Corporate Vantage growing strongly as well.”

The figures gave sector peers a boost, with Aberdeen Asset Management 4.8p higher at 412.1p. The FTSE 100 index closed 12.6 points higher at 6,295.3, helped by encouraging economic indicators from the eurozone and the United States. But the gain did not come easily, with the index spending some of the day in the red.

Outside the top flight, Edinburgh-based chip maker Wolfson Microelectronics was more than 6 per cent lower as traders focused on its forecast for lower than usual margins in the current quarter. The shares were down 12.75p at 185.25p, despite a 52 per cent rise in sales during the previous quarter and the firm’s assurances that its margin loss was only temporary.

Shares in Flybe were soaring after it announced a plan to fly 43 short-haul routes for Irish carrier Aer Lingus, currently in takeover talks with Ryanair. Flybe climbed more than 20 per cent to 54p.

Relative market newcomer Bridge Energy was in demand on AIM after closer inspection revealed that a prospect in the North Sea had much more oil than previously though. Its shares added 15 per cent to 120p.

NEW YORK: Wall Street ended mostly flat last night, taking another pause in the recent rally that has driven the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to five-year highs, as transportation and technology shares lost ground.

The Dow Jones industrial 
average ended up 6.61 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 13,985.91 while the broader S&P 500 added 0.73 points, or 0.05 per cent, to close at1,512.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 3.10 points, or 0.10 per cent, finishing the day on 3,168.48.