FTSE 100 lifted by strong results from Marks & Spencer and G4S

BRITAIN’S blue-chip stock index rose yesterday, buoyed by some encouraging earnings reports in light trade ahead of what is expected to be a close US presidential election result.

The FTSE 100 was up 45.84 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 5,884.90 by the close, remaining within the tight 200-point range it has held since September.

The narrow trading range and thin volumes of recent weeks were both symptoms of the lack of conviction in the market, said Bill McNamara, technical analyst at Charles Stanley.

“I understand the indecision, waiting for the election, but I’m not even convinced that once the elections are out of the way that investors are going to know what to do,” he said, citing the failure to sell off markedly after a summer rally. “What that tells me is that while there might not be too many buyers up at these levels, there clearly aren’t a lot of sellers around either, and the impression that I get is that people really are sitting on the sidelines.”

Marks & Spencer rose 2.8 per cent after the bellwether British retailer beat profit forecasts. Shares in the company have risen 14 per cent over the last three months, lifted by persistent takeover speculation.

Security firm G4S also posted solid results, gaining 3.5 per cent after reporting a pick-up in underlying revenue in the third quarter.

Life insurer Resolution topped the FTSE 100 leaderboard, rising seven per cent, with traders citing an upgrade to the stock by BofA Merrill Lynch to “buy” from “hold”.