Aggreko lifts FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 edged up 0.2 per cent in early deals, led by engineerAggreko and other defensive shares.

The temporary power provider, which issued two profit warnings at the end of last year, posted an 11 per cent rise in full-year profits and increased its dividend by 15 per cent. Investors cheered the good results, sending its shares up almost 10 per cent in early deals.

Fellow engineer IMI was up five per cent in early deals, as it reported a marginal rise in full-year adjusted pre-tax profit, adding that it would kick off a share buyback programme of up to £175m over the next 12 months.

Insurers Admiral and Standard Life rose two per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively. Edinburgh-based Standard Life this morning announced it would pay shareholders a £302m special dividend, on the back of a 65 per cent rise in operating profit.

Consumer group Unilever rose 1.45 per cent, making up the top five blue chip risers in early trades.

At the other end of the spectrum, Aviva fell to the bottom of the FTSE. The insurer, which this morning announced it was cutting its dividend by a quarter as it slumped to a £3bn loss last year, was down almost 14 per cent.

Buyout specialist Melrose – which yesterday announced a huge hike in full-year profits, sending its shares up – was down 2.7 per cent in early trades.

Gold miner Polymetal and supermarket Morrisons fell 1.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

UK banking shares had a mixed morning. Lloyds Banking Group fell 1.55 per cent, HSBC was up 0.32 per cent, RBS was down 0.78 per cent and Barclays rose 1.2 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 0.3 per cent while in the US, the Dow Jones closed up 0.3 per cent.