While only a handful of stocks were registering losses, airline group IAG dropped after saying that it would fail to achieve its 'break-even' operating target this year after it registered a steep loss in the six months to June 30th as fuel costs jumped and losses at its Spanish airline increased.
Mining group BHP Billiton gained after saying that its Chief Executive Officer would forgo his 2012 bonus after a $2.84bn write-down on US shale gas assets.
The group's sector peers were also heading higher in line with metal prices, with Kazakhmys, Vedanta and Antofagasta all making strong gains. The former two are tracking Dr.Copper (the only metal with a PhD in Macroeconomics) higher.
Royal Bank of Scotland also advanced after some well-received first-half results. RBS's operating profit in the first half of 2012 fell from £1,966m to £1,834m, after a £125m provision for costs arising from the technology incident in June 2012 and a £50m provision for interest rate swap mis-selling. Investec said this morning that it "remains a mystery as to why nationalisation might be considered practical or desirable" as the bank is "more than capable of responding to any uptick in credit-worth demand for finance". Sector peers Barclays and Standard Chartered were also in demand.
Insurance giant Aviva was also making strong gains ahead of its interim results next week, with both Credit Suisse and Investec retaining their 'outperform' and 'buy' ratings for the stock today. Investec said this morning that the shares "have the potential, we believe, to re-rate once the market has seen the first two or three disposals" of the group's non-core business disposal programme, details of which may be revealed alongside the results. The insurer is also benefitting from the generally better tone in capital markets today as well as positive read-across from continental peers Axa and Allianz following their latest quarterly figures out this morning.
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NETbuilder and Interactive Data.
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