Rolls-Royce; Shell lead strong day of results

Thur close: Strong corporate results helped lift London shares which shrugged off the prospect of higher interest rates in the US and UK.

The FTSE100 ended the session up by 37.87 points to 6,668.87, was bolstered by strong figures from heavyweights in various sectors, including AstraZeneca, RBS and Shell.

Royal Dutch Shell announced a 35% decline in adjusted quarterly profits to $3.8bn though this was well ahead of consensus estimates of $3.4bn. The oil major also kept its dividend steady at $0.47 for both A and B shares. Progress over its acquisition also lifted BG Group shares, up 39.5 at 1079.5p.

AstraZeneca was among the top risers, up 128.5p at 4,319.5p, as second-quarter numbers came in better-than-expected.

Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce stuck to its current full-year 2015 guidance and chose to emphasise the positive outlook for the year thanks to continued growth in its order book. Management however was still smarting after it was forced to downgrade its guidance for free cash-flow generation on 6 July. Shares closed up 19p at 749.5p.

Babcock International led the fallers despite the engineer saying it was on track to meet its full- and half-year forecasts. Its defence are has been expected to experience some softness but the group continued to experience strong demand from existing clients in its marine and support services divisions. Shares were down 53.5p at 985.5p.

BT produced a solid set of first quarter results that were close to City forecasts and left it on track to hit its full-year targets. Revenue of £4.28bn was down 2% and just shy of consensus forecasts. On an underlying level the top line was flat, an improvement on the fourth quarter of the previous year. Shares were down 5.55p at 467.95p

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