UK shares were flat in morning trading on Tuesday but clung to the previous session’s four-week highs, alongside their European peers, after bourses in Asia took heart from fresh new record closes on Wall Street.
While Germany was closed for holiday, the blue chip FTSE 100 (FTSE) index was up 0.04 percent at 7,441.82 points by 0840 GMT, slightly underperforming a broadly positive European market.
Heating and plumbing product supplier’s Ferguson (L:FERG) was the top gainer on both the UK index and the STOXX 600 (STOXX) with a 2.8 rise after it reported a rise in trading profit and announced a share buy back plan.
With a strengthened dollar, miners added the most points to the index with Anglo American (L:AAL), Rio Tinto (L:RIO) and Glencore (L:GLEN) up between 1 and 2.3 percent.
Financial shares also lifted the FTSE 100 with HSBC (L:HSBA), Standard Chartered (L:STAN) and Barclays (L:BARC) rising between 0.3 and 1.3 percent.
EasyJet was up 1 percent after JP Morgan rose its target price for the stock and rival Ryanair (I:RYA) said it saw September traffic grow by 10 percent.
Both airlines and Lufthansa (DE:LHAG) were among last session’s top gainers after Monarch Airlines went bust.
British baker Greggs (L:GRG) added 0.7 percent after like-for-like sales rose 5 percent in the 13 weeks to the end of September, keeping it on track to meet expectations for the year despite higher ingredient costs.
Outside the index, semiconductor maker Electrocomponents (L:ECM) touched a 16-year high after a strong trading update.
Advertising giant WPP (L:WPP) posted the worst performance with a 2 percent fall after Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) sold 22.5 million shares in an accelerated bookbuild offering. WPP shares are down nearly 25 percent since the beginning of the year.
Bae Systems (L:BAES) was also among the top losers, retreating 1.4 percent following a downgrade by Berenberg.
“This follows a management sales briefing, reassessment of the likelihood and timing of key export wins, and our expectation of no organic revenue growth and modest earnings progression in the next two years,” the broker said.
British soft drinks group Britvic Plc (L:BVIC), which said it would close its Norwich manufacturing site, was down 0.6 percent.