LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 At One-week High, With HSBC, Shell Boosted By Earnings

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Next shares hit after warning; service-sector data due

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U.K. blue-chip stocks rose Thursday, with Royal Dutch Shell PLC and HSBC Holdings PLC advancing after earnings reports, while investors waited for an update on the services sector that makes up the bulk of British economic activity.

The FTSE 100 index moved up 0.6% to 7,275.73, led by the oil and gas, financial and health care sectors, and was on track for a one-week high. The London benchmark on Wednesday lost 0.2% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/miners-sainsburys-yank-ftse-100-into-the-red-2017-05-03) .

Another wave of earnings reports came into the market Thursday, helping drive shares of HSBC, Shell and RSA Insurance Group PLC (RSA.LN) to the top of the benchmark.

Read:European shares are a buy -- but watch for this Trump risk: Eaton Vance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-equities-a-buy-but-trump-policy-inaction-a-risk-eaton-vance-2017-05-03)

But Next PLC (NXT.LN) shares dropped by the most since January after the clothing retailer issued a fiscal-year warning.

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Services update: On deck for investors Thursday is the April services-sector activity reading, due at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time, from Markit/CIPS. That sector makes up nearly 80% of the U.K.'s gross domestic product.

A first-quarter slowdown in the services sector weighed on economic growth. GDP grew 0.3% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-economy-slows-sharply-ahead-of-election-2017-04-28), which was less than the 0.7% record in the fourth quarter of 2016, the Office for National Statistics said last week.

The pound bought $1.2838 compared with $1.2867 late Wednesday in New York ahead of the report. The dollar late Wednesday rose after the Federal Reserve left the door open for a June rate hike, saying the U.S. economy's first-quarter slowdown was likely the result of transitory factors (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-holds-interest-rates-steady-dismisses-first-quarter-slump-as-transitory-2017-05-03).

Stock movers: HSBC shares (HSBA.LN) (HSBA.LN) climbed 3.1% after the lender posted a bigger-than-expected first-quarter profit of $3.13 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hsbc-profit-beats-views-spurring-buyback-hopes-2017-05-04), spurring anticipation the bank could buy back more shares this year.

Shell shares (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) popped up 3.2% as the oil heavyweight said net profit jumped to $3.4 billion in the first quarter from $814 million for the same period in 2016.

RSA Insurance picked up 2.2% after the insurer reported a 14% rise in net written premiums (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rsa-insurance-sees-operating-profit-ahead-of-plans-2017-05-04) to GBP1.71 billion ($2.20 billion) for the first quarter, and said operating profit was ahead of its plans.

Shares of Next (NXT.LN) dropped 6% after the clothing, accessories and furnishings retailer cut its full-year sales and pretax profit forecast (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/next-warns-of-full-year-sales-profit-shortfall-2017-05-04). The move comes as first-quarter sales came in at the lower end of management's expectations.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2017 04:07 ET (08:07 GMT)