BT tops FTSE 100

The benchmark index rose back through the 6,300 barrier this morning, boosted by strong gains from telecoms firm BT.

BT rose almost 3.8 per cent in early deals, on the back of a seven per cent jump in pre-tax profit over the three months to December thanks to strong demand for its fibre optic broadband.

"BT has achieved much in turning around what had been a flailing former monopoly. The strength of today’s update, coupled with positive prospects should consolidate the market consensus of the shares as a comfortable buy," Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers said this morning.

Mining shares showed strength this morning, with Kazakh copper miner Kazakhmys adding almost 2.3 per cent. Yesterday the miner said full-year copper cathode output fell two per cent on lower grades.

Anglo American – which earlier this week said it would write off $4bn from its Brazilian iron ore project – rose 1.78 per cent.

Explorer Tullow Oil rose 1.76 per cent.

Topping the FTSE 100 loser board was multinational agribusiness Tate & Lyle, which said this morning that adjusted pre-tax profit in the three months to December was lower than the previous period.

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell fell almost 1.5 per cent after missing forecasts yesterday.

The majority of banking shares had a good morning. HSBC rose 0.11 per cent, Barclays added 0.53 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group was up 1.23 per cent. Only RBS fell, by 0.15 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 0.47 per cent, while in the US the Dow Jones closed down 0.36 per cent.