Homebuilders push FTSE 100 higher

Trader watching monitor Image copyright AFP

(Close): The FTSE 100 ended slightly higher as strong results from Redrow pushed other homebuilders upwards.

The index gained 0.04%, or 2.6 points, to end the day at 7,337.81.

Earlier, FTSE 250-listed Redrow reported house sales had risen 13% in the six months to December while pre-tax profits climbed 35%.

Its shares jumped almost 4%, boosting larger rivals Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey whose shares rose 3% and 2.4% respectively.

"Fears of imminent economic collapse drove [an] extreme reaction in homebuilding shares post [the Brexit vote]," said Jasper Lawler, an analyst at London Capital Group.

"As those fears have been proven unfounded, the shares have been the biggest beneficiaries."

Rolls Royce also did well, gaining 2.78% on the strength of a broker recommendation.

Oil firms were among the biggest fallers as oil prices slipped on fresh evidence of oversupply in the market.

BHP Billiton and Royal Dutch Shell ended the day 3.38% and 1.8% lower respectively.