ARM tops FTSE 100

The leading share index shrugged off its losses yesterday to jump 0.5 per cent in early deals, helped by strong corporate earnings updates.

Chip maker ARM Holdings topped the FTSE 100 leader board in early deals, rising almost 4.5 per cent. This morning it posted a better-than-expected 16 per cent rise in fourth-quarter pre-tax profit.

“The fourth quarter of 2012 was the strongest we have ever seen from ARM, and that is against some pretty tough competition. Despite excellent progress throughout the year, ARM managed to exceed expectations in most areas of its business,” said Paul Morland at Peel Hunt this morning.

Oil giant BP was up almost 1.9 per cent in early deals. Investors were cheered by forecast-beating fourth quarter profits, although both fourth-quarter and full-year profits fell as it continued to count the cost of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

Elsewhere, stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown rose 2.74 per cent and telecoms firm BT was up 1.5 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, fellow blue chip oil firm BG Group – also reporting full-year results this morning – fell almost two per cent on news that it would not meet its 2015 production target of 1m barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Pay-TV provider BSkyB sank 1.16 per cent, as rival Virgin Media confirmed it was in talks with cable operator Liberty Global about a possible deal.

Banking shares were mainly in positive territory this morning. HSBC rose 0.31 per cent, RBS was up 1.73 per cent and Barclays added 0.46 per cent, despite it upping its mis-selling provision by £1bn this morning. Only Lloyds Banking Group fell, by 2.45 per cent.