FTSE 100 swings up on rosy corporate earnings

BRITAIN’S top share index rose yesterday, regaining half the previous day’s fall and bucking a three-day slide, buoyed by earnings news and US data in a volatile session that was overshadowed by the hazy Eurozone debt-crisis outlook.

Mining and oil firms were among the best performers, helped by rising crude and metals prices, as well as earnings from the likes of Randgold Resources, while those from retailer Next and satellite firm Inmarsat also helped.

The FTSE 100 swung in a 110-point range before settling up 1.2 per cent, or 62.53 points, at 5,484.10. It had fallen 2.2 per cent on Tuesday and 5.2 per cent over the course of the previous three days.

While buyers had emerged to buy on dips, given the scale of the recent selloff, the underlying tone was still bearish, traders said. Bond markets mirrored the sentiment as peripheral Eurozone bond yields continued to remain high.

Earnings news also provided some support, with Randgold Resources up more than seven per cent after it posted a strong gain in third-quarter output and profit, and said it was still looking at a record fourth quarter.

Among the other gainers, Next ended up 6.5 per cent after online sales helped it to a third-quarter beat, while Inmarsat ended up nearly four per cent as it also beat forecasts.

Worst hit throughout most of the session was Lloyds Banking Group, down 4.4 per cent in volume more than three times its 90-day daily average after its chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, decided to take a surprise temporary break citing ill health.

The chunky volume, ahead of its trading update on 8 November, helped push volume on the broader index to nearly 150 per cent of its 90-day average, which made it much more active than the German and French bourses.