FTSE 100 rally continues

FTSE 100 rally showed signs of continuing this morning, as the blue chip index edged up 0.1 per cent, despite a slew of weak trading statements from large-cap companies.

Oil and gas services firm Petrofac topped the blue chip loser board, shedding more than seven per cent.

Other large-cap fallers dropped on the back of trading updates out this morning. Chilean miner Antofagasta fell 5.3 per cent, despite posting a buoyant trading update which showed copper output jumped 10.8 per cent in 2012.

Cigarette maker Imperial Tobacco was down 4.5 per cent, as it warned that first half operating profit would be down year on year as it comes under pressure from the black market in Europe.

Speciality chemicals firm Johnson Matthey, which this morning posted a 19 per cent drop in pre-tax profits over the third quarter, fell 2.74 per cent.

Buoying the FTSE 100 was advertising group WPP, which rose 2.3 per cent.

Insurer Prudential added 1.62 per cent, while outsourcing firm Bunzl was up 1.54 per cent.

Outside of the blue chips, Siberian-focused oil producer RusPetro was up almost 10 per cent. Last week it announced plans to strengthen its balance sheet.

Chip designer Imagination Technologies, which makes chips for devices such as Apple’s iPad, rose more than 7.5 per cent. Large-cap chip designer ARM Holdings was also up 1.55 per cent, ahead of announcing its full-year results next Tuesday.

Banking shares had a mainly positive morning. HSBC was up 1.03 per cent, RBS added 1.42 per cent, Barclays soared 0.56 per cent, although Lloyds Banking Group was down 1.8 per cent.