FTSE rises as BP chokes well; banks weak

By David Brett

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top shares rallied early on Friday led by BP (BP.L: ), which rose after saying it had choked the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, while banks fell as downbeat U.S. corporate results weighed on the sector.

By 0807 GMT (4:07 a.m. EDT), the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was up 11.01 points, or 0.2 percent at 5,222.31, having closed 0.8 percent lower at 5,211.29 on Thursday, its second successive session of losses.

“Investors are buying back in on the dips but the rally feels empty with thin volumes, disappointing corporate data and uncertainty over the recovery in the U.S. and China lurking in the background,” said Jimmy Yates, head or equities at CMC Markets.

BP (BP.L: ) climbed 5.6 percent after the firm said oil is no longer flowing into the Gulf of Mexico — at least temporarily — after it choked off the flow from its undersea well that ruptured in April and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP added almost 16 points to the FTSE 100 index’s gains.

Miners were more modest risers, recovering after recent weakness, with Anglo American (AAL.L: ) and Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ) top gainers in the sector, up 1.1 and 1.3 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs boosted airlines with a bullish note on the sector, with British Airways (BAY.L: ) up 2.6 percent after the broker repeated its “buy” rating, and mid-cap peer easyJet (EZJ.L: ) up 3.1 percent as Goldman upped its rating to “buy” from “neutral.”

The broker also lent its backing to property firms, with British Land (BLND.L: ) standing out, up 1.3 percent as Goldman raised its rating to “buy” from “neutral.”

Among individual gainers, luxury group Burberry (BRBY.L: ) added 2.2 percent after it said it is to acquire its Chinese retail franchise operations for 70 million pounds ($107.5 million), prompting Evolution Securities to raise its target price.

Telecommunications firms BT (BT.L: ), up 1.4 percent, and Vodafone (VOD.L: ), up 0.2 percent, were given a lift as Jeffries started coverage on both companies with “buy” ratings in an upbeat note on the sector.

And Invensys (ISYS.L: ) was also a good performer, up 1.5 percent as the engineer benefited from an upgrade to “buy” from “neutral” by UBS.

BANKS JITTERY

Banks were the biggest drag on the positive blue chip sentiment, with Barclays (BARC.L: ) the top blue chip faller, down 1.9 percent, unsettled by the weakness in U.S. peer JP Morgan’s investment banking operations on Thursday.

Investors will have a key batch of U.S. financials earnings to digest before the U.S. session starts on Friday, with Bank of America (BAC.N: ), Citigroup (C.N: ), and General Electric (GE.N: ) all posting numbers.

Overnight, U.S. tech firm Google (GOOG.O: ) reported disappointing results, with its profit missing expectations.

Tech blue chip ARM Holdings (ARM.L: ) fell back in London, down 1.7 percent, having been boosted in the previous session by above-forecast earnings from U.S. chip firm Intel (INTC.O: ).

Macro attention will be on the latest U.S. inflation numbers, due at 1330 GMT.

“The fear is that the U.S. CPI data could well come in lower than expected and yet again send investors running worried of a slowdown in the US economic recovery,” CMC’s Yates said.

(Editing by Sharon Lindores)

($1=.6514 Pound)

FTSE rises as BP chokes well; banks weak