Corp earnings drive FTSE up, commods lead, QE hopes

By David Brett

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Strong corporate earnings hoisted Britain’s top shares by more than 1 percent on Tuesday, led by energy stocks after BP and BG Group results and ahead of the outcome of the eagerly awaited U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.

At the two-day meet in Washington which started on Tuesday, the Fed will consider the prospect of further quantitative easing. Markets are pricing in a commitment to buy at least $500 billion in Treasury debt over the coming months to spur a flagging economy.

The FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) closed up 62.81 points, or 1.1 percent, at 5,757.43. The index has risen 1.4 percent this week ahead of the Fed meeting.

“(Equities) are well placed. Yields on equities are very high and not just dividend but earnings yields as well,” said Mark Slater, chief investment officer of Slater Investments Ltd.

“If you invert the price earnings of your average FTSE 100 company you are getting somewhere between an 8 and 10 percent earnings yield, you’re not going to get that on a prime property or any kind of bond and you have got some protection against inflation.”

Energy stocks (.FTNMX0530: ) added the most points to the index after strong earnings from BP (BP.L: ), up 1.8 percent, and BG Group (BG.L: ) up 3.4 percent.

Oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW.L: ) climbed 4.1 percent, helped by crude rising almost 1 percent as the dollar sagged on QE hopes.

Miners (.FTNMX1770: ), which were higher on Monday after stronger-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data, were in demand once again as a weaker dollar supported metals prices.

Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ) put on 3.2 percent, with the Chilean copper miner due to report production figures on Wednesday.

BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) added 1.9 percent with traders citing market talk that its bid for Potash Corp (POT.N: ) (POT.TO: ) had been rejected.

The Canadian government, responding to market rumors, said that no decision had yet been made.

EARNINGS CHEERED

Insurer Aviva (AV.L: ) rose 1.2 percent after it revealed in-line sales for the first nine months and a bullish outlook.

Imperial Tobacco (IMT.L: ), the world’s fourth-biggest cigarette maker, climbed 1.9 percent after meeting forecasts with an 11 percent rise in annual earnings.

Peer British American Tobacco (BATS.L: ) climbed 2.2 percent.

Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L: ), up 0.9 percent, beat forecasts with an 18 percent rise in third-quarter earnings and eyed strong growth.

Banks (.FTNMX8350: ) were mainly higher, with, Barclays (BARC.L: ) up 0.6 percent ahead of its update on November 9, HSBC (HSBA.L: ), set to issue an update on Friday, up 0.4 percent and Standard Chartered (STAN.L: ) up 1.2 percent.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ), however, shed 3.2 percent as concerns over losses from problem loans and tougher competition overshadowed an upbeat trading statement from the part-nationalized British lender.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ), due to issue an update on Friday, fell 0.3 percent

Elsewhere, Serco (SRP.L: ) slid 3.7 percent, the top FTSE 100 faller, as investors continued to shun the company that apologized on Monday for asking suppliers to make cash rebates on work for this year or risk losing future contracts.

(Editing by David Cowell)

Corp earnings drive FTSE up, commods lead, QE hopes