FTSE 100 Live 7 May: Index at yet another record, BP profits down

The momentum for London’s FTSE 100 index is continuing in a session that has also featured BP quarterly results.

The oil giant’s profits came in lower than a year ago but the decline failed to prevent another big return of cash to shareholders.

Across the London market, blue-chips remain in demand as the FTSE 100 index today traded above the 8300 mark for the first time.

Live updates

14 minutes ago

Ocado and JD Sports higher as FTSE 100 tops 8300, FTSE 250 up 1%

The handover from Monday’s strong Wall Street session today helped London’s FTSE 100 index advance deeper into record territory, up 91.21 points at 8304.70.

Rate-sensitive Ocado rose by 14.4p to 370p, while US-focused JD Sports Fashion, Rentokil Initial and Flutter Entertainment were all up more than 2%.

Their gains came after the S&P 500 rallied more than 1% on revised bets on when Federal Reserve might loosen monetary policy.

Other strong FTSE 100 stocks included Marks & Spencer, which improved 5.5p to 263.8p, and Barratt Developments after a gain of 5.3p to 484p.

In a session when defensive healthcare companies struggled, AstraZeneca added 42p to 12,092p as City firm Berenberg raised its price target to 13,000p.

The FTSE 250 rose 216.99 points to 20,381.53, while AIM-listed games developer Frontier Developments gained 5p to 270p thanks to improved profits guidance.

58 minutes ago

Construction returns to growth despite new housebuilding decline

The UK construction sector recorded its strongest growth in over a year in April, despite a new setback for housebuilding, according to an influential business survey.

The S&P Global UK Construction PMI survey reading for April was 53.0, well ahead of March’s 50.2, or the expected figure of 50.4. Any figure above 50 represents growth. The expansion was driven by strong performance in commercial building and infrastructure.

However, housebuilding returned to decline, after March figures showed the sector was stable for the first time in more than a year,

Tim Moore, Economics Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, which compiles the survey, said: "The construction sector consolidated its recent return to growth in April, with total industry activity rising at the fastest pace for 14 months amid an ongoing recovery in order books. Demand was boosted by greater confidence regarding the broader UK economic outlook. Commercial construction outperformed in April and civil engineering also provided a solid contribution to overall growth.

"Lacklustre market conditions in the house building segment continued to weigh on activity. The latest survey pointed to the fastest reduction in residential building work since January, although the speed of the downturn remained much softer than in the second half of 2023.”

1 hour ago

Revolution Bars 'in talks with 32 parties' on sale

Revolution Bars is in talks with 32 suitors as it hopes to find a buyer that could rescue the flagging student haunt operator.

The business launched a formal sale process last month, as it struggled with a slowdown in demand from its core customer base of young people.

Today the business revealed that 42 parties were invited to take part in the formal sale process, and 32 have agreed to do so. In addition, Dirty Martini owner Nightcap - which is not part of the formal sale process - says it is “ exploring all options” in regard to buying part or all of Revolution.

While the sales process goes on, Revolution is also launching a restructuring plan, which would lead to it closing 18 bars, and cutting hundreds of jobs.

The business said: “The board welcomes the interest of all parties in the group and its businesses and is open to exploring all options that may deliver a superior outcome to the restructuring plan.”

Revolution shares gained 9% to 1.8p this morning, leaving the business valued at £7.8 million.

2 hours ago

Market snapshot as FTSE 100 surges

Take a look at our market snapshot as the FTSE 100 surges past the 8300 mark.

2 hours ago

FTSE 100 sets new record after 1% jump, M&S shares up 3%

Buoyant trading conditions have continued after the long weekend to leave the FTSE 100 index up 1.1% or 88.87 points at a record 8302.36.

Among strongly performing stocks, British Airways owner IAG rose 3% or 5.1p to 183.75p and Flutter Entertainment lifted by 365p to 16,070p.

UK property or retail companies also fared well as Barratt Developments added 9.6p to 488.3p and Marks & Spencer rose by 3% or 6.7p to 265p.

BP shares were 1.9p higher at 512.3p after its first quarter results, a performance that lagged rival Shell with a gain of 1.5% or 44.5p to 2903p.

Defensive stocks were out of favour as healthcare firms Smith & Nephew and Haleon led a shortened fallers board. The FTSE 250 index rose 159.42 points to 20,323.96.

2 hours ago

Average house price could be £61,500 higher by end of 2028, forecast suggests

A house price growth forecast has been revised upwards, based on an improved economic outlook.

Across Britain, property values are expected to have increased by just over a fifth (21.6%) on average by the end of 2028, revised from a previous forecast of 17.9%, Savills said.

The revised forecast could mean the average house price grows by £61,500, from £285,000 in 2023 to £346,500 by 2028.

2 hours ago

Audit watchdog issues fines for London Capital failure

The audit watchdog today issued sanctions over the collapse of London Capital & Finance, a now insolvent fund that took money from nearly 12,000 investors.

The executive counsel of the Financial Reporting Council dished out punishments to Oliver Clive and Co and its partner Emma Benjamin, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Jessica Miller, Ernst & Young and its partner Neil Parker.

All three were hit with fines in relation to one of the City’s most long running scandals and “severe reprimands” for audit failures.

PwC is the most eye-catching punishment, a punishment of £7 million discounted to £4.9 million for “admissions and early disposal”.

All three individual accountants got fines of £20,000, £105,000 and £47,250 respectively.

A court earlier heard that LC&F was a “Ponzi” scheme where money raised from UK investors was spent on horses, diamonds and membership of Annabel’s nighclibt.

London Capital raised £237 million from investors, promising returns of 8% a year. It failed in 2019 leading to criminal and regulatory probes.

The FRC said this morning: “The failures included multiple contraventions of fundamental requirements affecting key areas of the financial statements. The most significant issue was the failure to obtain an adequate understanding of the nature of LCF’s business and the company’s internal controls, and to apply sufficient professional skepticism in that regard. PwC resigned as LCF’s auditor in October 2017 .”

2 hours ago

BP sticks with multi-billion dollar investor payout plans as first quarter profits miss City forecasts

BP, the UK’s second-biggest oil major, stuck with its plans to return cash to shareholders today, even as its quarterly profit fell and missed City forecasts.

For the first quarter of the year, underlying replacement cost profit fell to $2.7billion, from $2.9 billion in the fourth quarter and almost $5 billion in the same period a year ago. It was expected to be $2.9 billion.

Oil and gas prices on global energy markets were lower in the period

BP will keep the pace of its share buy back at $1.75 billion for the quarter, and repeated its commitment to return $3.5 billion in the first half of the year.

Murray Auchincloss called the numbers “resilient”, and pointed to cost-cutting plans:

“Oil production was up ... We are simplifying and reducing complexity across BP and plan to deliver at least $2 billion of cash cost savings by the end of 2026.”

3 hours ago

FTSE 100 seen near 8300 after US markets rally

The FTSE 100 index is set for another record position after the S&P 500 index last night closed 1% higher and the Nasdaq lifted by 1.2%.

Among the Magnificent Seven, Nvidia jumped 4% and Meta Platforms by 3% after Friday’s weak jobs report boosted US interest rate cut hopes.

The FTSE 100 index closed at 8213 on Friday and is forecast to rise by at least 1% to above 8300 as traders catch up developments after the long weekend.

As well as the strong session on Wall Street, European markets also traded in positive territory yesterday.

In commodities, Brent Crude is at $83.45 a barrel with gold at $2319 an ounce.

3 hours ago

Time to Act to float on Aquis

Energy transition engineering business Time to Act is to float on the Aquis exchange, in a rare UK IPO.

The business, which made a profit of £1.9 million last year, hopes to raise £1 million.

It said raising the money will help the company “de-risk growth and “support its strategy of coupling organic growth and acquisition”.

Executive chair Chris Heminway said: "Today marks a pivotal moment for Time To Act as we embark on the next phase of our journey to address opportunities in the energy transition supply chain.

“Our decision to float on the AQSE Growth Market underscores our commitment to fostering innovation in this sector and developing engineering-led solutions for a cleaner, greener world.”

It comes amid a dearth of UK listings this year.

Data from Mergermarket for the Evening Standard last week showed the London Stock Exchange’s main market was outside the top 20 stock exchanges for money raised by IPOs this year.

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