FTSE lifted by strong corporate results

The FTSE 100 edged up this morning led by the financial and energy sectors, while heavyweights WPP and Man Group reporting strong results.

London's blue chip index gained despite losses in the US and Asia triggered by the Fed failing to signal and more stimulus measures and mixed economic data out of China.

Factory figures from the country suggested that larger enterprises were seeing stronger growth while smaller companies were lagging.

Meanwhile in the UK data showed that the UK's manufacturing growth had slowed in February.

The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index(PMI) ticked down to 51.2 from 52.0.

But the FTSE saw gains fuelled by strong corporate results.

Hedge fund giant Man Group was the highest climber on the FTSE 100, up 8.4 per cent after it reported a drop in fund outflows and a rise in assets, with Oriel Securities repeating its "add" rating on the stock.

The company is on the recovery path after being hit by volatility in markets in the summer.

Investment bank Schroders nudged up by 1.3 per cent. India-focused Essar Energy bounced back by 3.7 per cent after being dented by results which missed forecasts early in the week. Also in resources miner Kazakhmys was up 1.6 per cent.

The world's largest advertising agency WPP put on 1.6 per cent after reporting a jump in profit with chief executive Martin Sorrell saying that the company was expecting a further boost from the Olympics.

In banking Lloyds was up just over one per cent, Barclays 0.9 per cent while RBS was flat.

On the down side engineer Weir Group was the steepest faller, down 1.5 per cent. The company yesterday signalled that it was launching an appeal to Australian regulators over their decision to give the green light to a rivals' bid for a firm it is also chasing.

Other companies who lost around one per cent included Cairn Energy and publisher Reed Elsevier. Severn Trent and Scottish and Southern Energy also dipped slightly.

FTSE-250 Stagecoach was up just over one per cent after reporting strong results at its rail arm in Britain.

In Asia the Nikkei closed down 0.16 per cent and the Hang Seng1.35 per cent.

Across the Atlantic later investors will be focusing on the latest US initial weekly jobless claims and January personal income and consumption numbers.