FTSE rises, boosted by BP and Whitbread

A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in the City of London at lunchtime October 1, 2008.  REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Britain’s top share index climbed on Tuesday as oil major BP (BP.L) and hotels and food group Whitbread (WTB.L) both rose after earnings that reassured investors.

Gains were capped by further falls in mining stocks as concerns about China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, weighed.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE rose 0.4 percent to 6,288.65 points, slightly below a 4-month high reached last week.

A 3 percent rise at BP added the most points to the FTSE.

BP posted an 80 percent drop in first quarter profits but still beat analysts’ expectations. The firm maintained its dividend and said it could cut capital spending further.

“Overall it’s a good set of figures as it looks like BP is getting costs under control,” said Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital.

Shares in Whitbread, which runs Premier Inn budget hotels and the Costa Coffee chain, rose 3.3 percent after the firm reported a rise in profits.

Mining stocks including Glencore (GLEN.L) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L) fell, with metals prices and iron ore and steel prices losing ground.

Iron ore and steel futures in China fell sharply on Tuesday after authorities raised transaction costs to cool last week’s rapid gains in Chinese commodities, which had raised fears of an unstable speculative bubble forming.

Shares in engineer Cobham (COB.L), which is on the FTSE 250 mid-cap index .FTMC, also slumped 19 percent after Cobham proposed a 500 million pounds ($724.80 million) rights issue to strengthen its balance sheet after issuing a profit waring.

The FTSE 100 is up around 1 percent so far in 2016, but 12 percent below a record high reached in April 2015.