London Report: Shell and Barratt push FTSE upward to seven-week high

THE UK’S blue-chip share index set a seven-week high yesterday, lifted by a rally in energy stocks after solid results from Royal Dutch Shell, although tensions in Ukraine and poor US growth data capped gains.

Shares in Shell gained 3.7 per cent, adding the most points to the FTSE 100 index, after the Anglo-Dutch company reported a jump in first-quarter cashflows and raised its dividend.

Barratt Developments surged 5.2 per cent on a positive sector note by Deutsche Bank late yesterday, with the UK housebuilder featuring among its top picks, traders said.

The broader FTSE 100 index ended 0.2 per cent higher at 6,780.03 points after hitting an intraday high of 6,794.88, the highest level since early March. It has gained four per cent in two weeks, spurred by a rise in mergers and acquisition activity.

Industrial group Rolls-Royce rose 2.8 per cent after entering talks with Germany’s Siemens to sell a unit that makes equipment for the oil and gas industry and power-generation gear for utilities.