BT Group helps FTSE 100 higher

  • 26 July 2016
  • From the section Business
Market trader (file picture) Image copyright PA

(Close): BT shares helped to lift the FTSE 100 higher after regulator Ofcom said its Openreach business did not need to be split off from the company.

Instead, Ofcom said Openreach should become a distinct company within the BT group. Shares in BT rose 3.1%.

By the close, the FTSE 100 index was up 14 points at 6,724.03.

Shares in the supermarket Tesco were the biggest fallers. Kantar Worldpanel figures showed its sales slipped 0.7% in the 12 weeks to 17 July.

Shares in housebuilders were hit after Deutsche Bank cut its price targets for several firms in the sector.

Barratt Developments fell 3.2% and Taylor Wimpey dropped 2.8%.

Shares in oil giant BP fell 1.3% after it reported a near halving in second-quarter profits.

Underlying replacement cost profit for the quarter fell 44% to $720m (£550m), which was slightly lower than expected, as the company suffered from lower oil prices and weak refining margins.

In the FTSE 250, shares in Virgin Money jumped 6.9% after the bank reported a sharp rise in half-year profits.

Underlying pre-tax profit rose 53% to £101.8m. The bank said that since the Brexit vote, it had "experienced continued strong customer demand and no evidence of changes in customer behaviour".

However, the bank added it had deferred plans to start lending to small businesses.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.2% against the dollar to $1.3118 and also dropped 0.2% against the euro to €1.1925.

After hitting three-month lows on Monday, the price of oil continued to fall. Brent crude slid 26 cents to $44.46 a barrel, while US crude fell 39 cents to $42.74.