FTSE 100 higher as Royal Mail shares rise

Market trader (file picture) Image copyright Getty Images

(Close): Shares in London closed higher, helped by well-received results from Royal Mail and Johnson Matthey.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day up 50.96 points, or 0.8%, at 6,329.93.

Royal Mail rose 5% to 476.70p after its fall in half-year underlying operating profits was less than expected, and it said costs were set to fall.

Johnson Matthey shares jumped 9.7% after its said it would pay out £305m in a special dividend to shareholders.

UK shares were boosted by a strong session in the US on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated that the US economy was strengthening.

The comments, in the minutes from the Fed's October meeting, backed the view that US rates will rise in December.

In the FTSE 250, shares in Poundland dived 19.2% after the budget retailer reported a fall in half-year sales and profits, and added that trading in the third quarter had been "highly volatile".

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.4% against the dollar to $1.5303, but fell 0.2% higher against the euro to €1.4256.