Market Report: Footsie shrugs off bad news to rise again

After a choppy session in London, the FTSE 100 ended the week on its fifth straight gain as investors shrugged off lousy retail sales, the US Federal Reserve decision to tighten its monetary policy and the drag of the miners. The top tier closed up 33 points at 5358.1.

Anglo American sank to the bottom of the blue chips as it put out its full-year results. Investors were unhappy as the group failed to reinstate its dividend, unlike several of its rivals this month, despite earnings before charges coming in better than expected. The group also said it would find further cost savings beyond the previous target of $2bn. Goldman Sachs expects the management to pay a final dividend "in respect of full year 2010 in full year 2011" and added that "overall, the operational performance was stronger than we expected". It gave up 44.5p to close at 2457.5p.

Close behind was Fresnillo, the Mexican silver and gold producer, as the US decision to lift its banking lending rate to 0.75 per cent fuelled fears that demand for gold would fall. Metals prices easing also pushed the miner down 11.5p to 774p. Randgold Resources also gave up 66p to 4699p.

Publishing group Reed Elsevier fell further after the muted reaction to its full-year results on Thursday. The company received a fair bit of backing from the analysts yesterday, who all upped their price targets to at least 70p above the current levels. Even Goldman Sachs, which cut its target, believes the stock should hit 610p. The market was not listening yesterday and the stock gave up a further 3.8p to close at 482.4p.

On the upside, the soaraway winner was Shire, the pharmaceuticals company which released what it called "excellent results in a transformational year" for the company. Investors applauded as the shares broke free of the mediocrity to post a 60p rise, a boost of 4.5 per cent, to 1370p. At one stage the shares hit a nine-year high as the company's full-year results beat expectations. The management said revenues and earnings would grow this year after it posted better than predicted revenues of $3bn for 2009. A Thomson Reuters poll of 11 analysts had expected revenues of $2.8bn.

The rest of the market was struggling for direction, with investors taking refuge in a few defensives and a ragbag of risers beyond that. Consumer product group Unilever, which makes Flora margarine to Dove and Persil, rose 51p to 1947p after a positive read across from results posted by Swiss rival Nestlé.

Tullow Oil was also among the high-ish fliers following bullish remarks from the group's chief executive Aidan Heavey. The group is to drill seven wells off the coast of West Africa, and is looking to bring in partners to help develop oil fields in Uganda to bring the output to 350,000 barrels a day by 2013. It also emerged yesterday that the group remains the last in the running to buy Ugandan assets from Heritage. The market's approval sent the shares up 22p of the back of the move to a close of 1232p.

Defensive stocks found some traction, and a bullish note from Nomura meant British American Tobacco shares were smoking. The cigarette giant rose 55p to 2225p as Nomura reiterated its "buy" rating and lifted its price target from 2130p to 2350p.

Telecoms giant BT Group has been under pressure pretty consistently since it revealed it had a pension fund black hole of £9bn, and that the Pension Regulator was not overly happy with its plan – supposedly over the time suggested to pay it off. Well it received a welcome boost yesterday from Fitch Ratings. The agency said that while the deficit was "undoubtedly a negative factor," the payments could be absorbed by the group's operational cash flow in the short to medium term. The stock rose 2.8p to 118.6p.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, which operates 120 hotels in 19 countries around the world including one at Chelsea Football Club's home ground Stamford Bridge, was the mid tier's hot shot, rising 41.2p to 417.7p. The close marked a 21-month high after the group beat full-year forecasts. Profits in 2009 fell a fifth to £81.9m.

Also storming up off the back of full-year numbers was rat catcher Rentokil Initial which reported profits were up 54 per cent to £166.5m, another company to beat expectations, and had cut net debt year on year from £1.3bn to £1.1bn. The rise of 11.4p came despite the management deciding not to pay a dividend. In reaction Investec upped its "sell" rating to a "hold". The stock ended up 11.7 points at 129.7p.

At the other end of the scale Charter International was in the mire despite hiking its dividend. The engineering group spiralled 51.5p lower to 692p after announcing it had launched an investigation into irregular payments made by one of its subsidiaries

Elsewhere on the sliders, Wolseley gave up 26p to 1439p as UBS pulled the stock from the most preferred list of European Construction.

In the wider market, West African miner Cluff Gold soared 13 per cent to 80p – forgetting the woes of larger colleagues – after announcing a bid approach from an unnamed suitor.

Leaf Clean Energy was not so lucky as its deal collapsed, sending the shares down 2p to 60.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before