Thursday 29 April 2021 8:34 am

FTSE 100 leaps as strong earnings drive index higher

London’s FTSE 100 was boosted by a series of positive earnings this morning as the index shot up by 0.6 per cent.

The blue-chips were buoyed by gains in medical products maker Smith & Nephew, who accelerated to the top of the index after revenue growth in the first quarter.

The increase was also supported by Unilever, rising 3.4 per cent after beating its quarterly sales forecasts.

Meanwhile, the mid-cap FTSE 250 also rose by 0.2 per cent, but gains were restricted by slips in companies including WH Smith.

Read more: NatWest beats forecasts as bank returns to profit in the first quarter

Market movers

The morning’s biggest winner was Smith & Nephew, who rose 6.3 per cent, followed by Standard Chartered, up by 5.7 per cent.

Consumer goods firm Unilever and HSBC also rose 3.4 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

NatWest was the morning’s biggest faller, dropping by 3.2 per cent, followed by analytics firm RELX’s 2.7 per cent hit.

Meanwhile, Melrose Industries and British American Tobacco both dipped by 1.5 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

Read more: Shell hails ‘strong start’ and hikes dividend on higher oil prices

Around the world

Elsewhere, Asian shares extended gains today after the Federal Reserve said it was too early to roll back emergency economic support.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.5 per cent while the Nasdaq futures shot up 0.9 per cent.

The gains came after Joe Biden proposed a $1.8tn stimulus package in a Congress speech yesterday.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were up by almost 0.5 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei futures gained 0.4 per cent.

Read more: Fed keeps rates and bond buying unchanged but notes “strengthened” recovery