LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Marches Higher As BP, Rolls-Royce Shares Advance

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Manufacturing figures for July due

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U.K. blue-chip stocks pushed higher Tuesday, with shares of BP PLC and Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC gaining after respective earnings reports from the oil major and the engine manufacturer.

The FTSE 100 moved up 0.4% to 7,402.96, led by industrial and oil and gas stocks. But basic materials shares sagged. The benchmark on Monday closed up 0.1% and logged a July rise of 0.8%.

Read:July's best-performing assets--in charts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/julys-best-performing-assetsin-charts-2017-07-31)

Along with a new pile of earnings to sort through, investors will assess a reading on manufacturing activity in July, due at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time, from the Office for National Statistics.

Equities were holding higher even as the pound continued to hover at 10-month highs against the dollar, buying $1.3212, not far from $1.3215 late Monday in New York.

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Stock movers: BP PLC shares (BP.LN)(BP.LN) climbed 2.4% as the oil producer swung to a profit in the second quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bp-swings-to-profit-on-higher-crude-prices-2017-08-01) of $553 million, and demonstrated its ability to generate cash again. Oil and gas production rose 9.9%.

Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (RR.LN) zoomed up 6.8% as the aircraft engine maker swung to a first-half net profit of GBP1.6 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rolls-royce-swings-to-profit-amid-turnaround-push-2017-08-01)($2.1 billion) amid signs of improvement from its turnaround plan.

Motor insurance provider Direct Line Insurance Group PLC (DLG.LN) sharply raised its interim dividend (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/direct-line-profit-climbs-hikes-interim-dividend-2017-08-01), and shares leapt 7.2%. The company also posted a rise in first-half net profit to GBP275.5 million ($363.7 million).

Taylor Wimpey PLC (TW.LN) was higher by 2.5% after the home builder said it will pay a special dividend of 10.4 pence a share (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/taylor-wimpey-profit-falls-plans-special-dividend-2017-08-01). The company did post a 24% fall in first-half pretax profit as it booked a previously announced exceptional charge.

Among the few decliners on the FTSE 100, Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) fell 2.1% even as the precious metals miner said first-half pretax profit rose 52% to $387.4 million (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fresnillo-pretax-profit-up-52-on-mine-boost-2017-08-01).

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 01, 2017 03:54 ET (07:54 GMT)