Serco tops FTSE 100

THE blue chip index bounced back this morning – it was up 0.8 per cent in early deals – on the back of a slew of positive results from FTSE companies.

Outsourcer Serco led the way with an 11 per cent rise. This morning the company – which maintains the DLR – posted a six per cent rise in annual profit as it won a record number of contracts last year, sending its shares up.

Energy services company John Wood Group soared almost six per cent, on news that its 2012 profits were up by 35 per cent on increased spending from oil and gas companies.

Bank Standard Chartered rose 3.6 per cent, as it this morning logged another year of record profits.

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said this morning that the bank "has brought the banking season to a close in some style".

"In terms of the market consensus, Standard Chartered is the pick of the bunch at a firm buy and today’s numbers are likely to consolidate that view," he added.

Other UK banking shares enjoyed a good morning. HSBC was up 0.25 per cent, Barclays advanced 1.1 per cent, RBS was up 1.7 per cent while Lloyds Banking Group rose 1.5 per cent.

Aircraft parts supplier Meggitt rose 3.2 per cent in early trading, as it unveiled a better-than-expected rise in full-year profit.

Mining giant Xstrata, which released results this morning alongside Glencore, rose three per cent despite posting a significant fall in annual net profit.

The blue chip companies in the red all notched up losses under one per cent, with Intu Properties down the most at 0.9 per cent.

SSE, Vodafone and Randgold Resources also lost ground.