StockMarketWire.com - MIDDAY REPORT: Headline shares remained firm but off highs at midday, with financials and miners underpinning progress in London and advertising firm WPP gaining following an upgrade to buy at Deutsche, and with Wall Street looking positive.

At high noon, the FTSE100 was up 20.52 points at 4,871.41 with the FTSE250 ahead 80.65 points at 8,759.48 and the FTSE Smallcaps 21.73 points better at 2,628.02.

NEW YORK

US stock futures were higher as fears of imminent interest rate rises melted.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 37 points, S&P500 futures added 3.6 points to 1,028.8 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 4 points to 1,639.5.

LONDON MARKETS

The main index headed into a fifth successive day of gains with solid gains, the FTSE100 nudging over 4,900 at one stage, a level not seen for ten months or so.

Miners were well-represented on the leaderboard as metals prices eged ahead, with copper particularly strong, up over 2%.

Kazakhmys and Xstrata were the leading lights in the sector, ahead 49.5p at 976p and 32p at 866.5p, respectively. Antofagasta gained 22.5p at 803p, while Randgold Resources added 45p at 3,560p as gold settled firmly over $950 an ounce.

Selected oil producers also made progress as crude hovered around $74 a barrel, with Shell ahead 5p at 1,635p, Tullow Oil up 9p at 1,091p and Cairn Energy 16p stronger at 2,616p.

Oil services group Petrofac, meanwhile, dipped 17p at 896.5p, despite reporting net profit for H1 up 20% to $145.6m.

It was bankers Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland who took the top two places on the blue chip hit parade, up 5.47p at 107.05p and 2.52p at 51p, respectively.

Insurers were well placed, with Amlin the pick of the crop after reporting first-half ROE of 27.4%, up from 20.6% last year. The group recorded a record profit after tax of £167m, up 54.5% in H1.

Amlin shares rose 5.19p at 361.1p, inspriring Aviva into a rise of 4.7p at 415.4p and helping lift Legal & General 0.85p to 78.65p.

Distribution group Bunzl rose 23p at 575p after reporting a 4% rise in interim pretax profits to £115.5m on revenues up 17%.

Advertsinig giant WPP was a major gainer, up 21.5p at 526p, after being upgraded at Deutsche with a target of 610p, and ahead of results later this week.

On the downside with blue chips, security group G4S slumpd to the foot of the ladder, down 7p at 217.1p, despite reporting that pretax profit was up 13.4% to £229.8m in the first half-year and raising its interim dividend 10%.

Supermarket operators also displayed weakness, with Tesco down 1.7p at 367.9p, Sainsbury 1.7p lower at 322.1p and Marks & Spencer off 3.1p at 339.8p, while Morrisons bucked the trend, up 0.7p at 270.5p.

Housebuilders rallied on the back of interim results from Bovis Homes that showed first-half pre-exceptional profit of £1.2m, down from £11.7m last year, the bblow softened by news of a 92% increase in the volume of private home reservations.

Bovis shares gained 7.5p at 545p, while Barratt Developements added 6.6p at 243.9p, Persimmon surged 18p to 519p and Redrow ticked up 10.1p at 226.1p.


Story provided by Business Financial Newswire