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FTSE 100 live: Strong BP results powers London markets higher

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London’s FTSE 100 posted strong gains on Tuesday morning as a bumper buyback announcement from BP sent the capital’s premier index higher.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.71 per cent to hit 7,666.68 while the FTSE 250 index, which is more aligned with the health of the domestic economy, rose 0.28 per cent to 19,071.11.

The capital’s premier blue-chip’s top riser on Tuesday morning was BP. Shares in the oil and gas giant were up over six per cent following its results this morning.

Although 2023 profits nearly halved compared to last year, new boss Murray Auchinloss committed to a $3.5bn buyback through the first six months of next year, with a plan to deliver as much as $14bn by the end of the next financial year.

The firm’s figures for the fourth quarter also beat analyst expectations, helping to reassure investors concerned by instability at the firm.

Analysts said the results showed what Auchinloss’s priorities would be as the new boss.

“Although on appointment he pledged that BP’s strategy to transition from an international oil company to an integrated energy company was unchanged, the big share buy-back announcement shows the immediate focus is on boosting the share price and returning value to shareholders,” Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown said.

Shares in Shell also rose over one per cent.

Shares in GSK meanwhile slipped slightly even after the firm announced a potential breakthrough in the treatment of blood cancer.

In an interim study, a cocktail of drugs was trialled, including one called Blenrep, which GSK found led to a “statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement”, meaning it helped patients live longer without the cancer getting worse.

Despite this, its shares lost 0.2 per cent.

A number of China-facing stocks also performed well on Tuesday as signs emerged that measures to boost China’s stock market are starting to work.

“A huge rebound in China seems to be giving risk some lustre this morning – Shanghai rallied three per cent, Hong Kong four per cent and Shenzhen six per cent as Beijing upped the ante on its efforts to stabilise the market ahead of the lunar new year holiday,” Finalto’s Neil Wilson said.

Prudential was up 3.2 per cent while HSBC rose 1.8 per cent. Standard Chartered also gained 1.1 per cent.

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