FTSE up on company updates, Barclays jumps

By Atul Prakash

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s top share index rose in morning trade on Thursday following encouraging company updates, with BT surging after strong results and Barclays bank after announcing a revival plan.

Barclays climbed 4.4 percent, the top percentage gainer on the FTSE 100 index, after saying it will cut 19,000 jobs in the next three years and set up a “bad bank”.

It led the UK banking index up 0.9 percent.

“Barclays’ significant restructuring to simplify the group is welcomed by investors as an effort to transform the bank …even if it means the flagship investment banking division, which has driven things for so long, needs scaling back,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said.

BT Group rose 2.7 percent as strong demand for fibre broadband and television helped the telecom company report its first growth in consumer revenues in a decade.

At 0757 GMT, the FTSE 100 index was up 0.5 percent at 6,827.05 points.

The broader market also got support from dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday and data on Thursday showing China’s exports and imports returned to slight growth in April, beating forecasts and offering some positive signals for the economy.

“Technically we are nearing the FTSE 100 index resistance level, but with strong U.S. macro data we remain in an investable climate and investors should remain cautiously optimistic,” Mike Jarman, chief market strategist at H2O Markets, said.

Miners reacted positively as China is the world’s biggest consumer of metals. The UK mining index was up 0.2 percent, while Anglo American rose 1 percent.

Gains in the broader market were capped by sharp declines by some shares. Sage Group fell more than 4 percent as its Chief Executive Guy Berruyer said he would step down and its results disappointed some investors.

Investors were awaiting the outcome of a Bank of England policy meeting. The central bank looks set to hold rates at a record low despite signs that the recovery is picking up more speed and that house prices are surging.

(additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Larry King)

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