LONDON: FTSE helped by corporate results, weighed down by mining shares

#AceMarketsNews – LONDON (Reuters)July.24: FTSE 100 edged higher on Friday, slightly underperforming broader European equities, with positive results from Vodafone balancing an ongoing sell-off in the mining sector.

Worries over emerging markets and Chinese growth have roiled commodity prices and hit the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which is comparatively more exposed to natural resources and energy firms, harder than other pan-European indexes.

But the second-quarter results season offset some of that impact on Friday, with the FTSE up 0.1 percent at 6,659.36 points by 1139 GMT. It closed 0.2 percent lower in the previous session.

House-builders and property stocks also got a lift on a day when data showed mortgage approvals in Britain in June rose to their highest since March last year. Broker recommendations helped to put Land Securities and British Land among the top six performing blue-chips in the UK.

“It’s pretty much driven by company results,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

“We’re looking to see how the results are feeding through on the ground as opposed to all the macroeconomic data we’ve tended to be concentrating on leading up to the second quarter reporting season.”

Vodafone rose more than 4 percent after reporting an acceleration in its main quarterly sales growth as a cable TV acquisition in its biggest market Germany lifted sales and consolidated the overall return to growth for the world’s second-largest mobile operator.

Pearson, the group selling the Financial Times in a $1.3 billion deal, initially gained but turned slightly negative after announcing an increase to its dividend and confirming guidance. Traders said the lack of an upgrade to its outlook was a negative for the stock.

Diageo dropped 2.1 percent after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced an investigation into whether the liquor company has been shipping excess inventory to distributors to boost its results.

Mining stocks saw more selling, with Lonmin slumping 11.5 percent and Glencore and Antofagasta down around 1.7 percent. Platinum producer Lonmin said it planned to close or mothball several mine shafts in a bid to survive plunging prices.

However, miner Anglo American edged 0.8 percent higher despite a rout in metal prices and a profit warning earlier this month as it surprised the markets by maintaining its interim dividend.

(Reporting by Liisa Tuhkanen; Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Potter)

FTSE helped by corporate results, weighed down by mining shares

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