LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was more upbeat this week, after a number of positive earnings reports from some of the U.K.'s biggest public companies helped send it up 140 points (2.2%) to 6,426. That's still some way down from the five-year high of 6,534 points that the index of top U.K. stocks set on March 12, but it's a nice pullback from recent falls.
Here are four of the companies that gave the FTSE a boost this week.
Standard Life (LSE: SL)
Insurer Standard Life led the FTSE 100 with a rise of 53 pence (16%) to 387 pence over the week, after the company announced that its total assets under management rose 7% to 233 billion pounds during its first quarter. The company also told us business was doing well in Canada, saying it "remains well placed in the growing pension market." Forecasts for the full year put Standard Life on a P/E of 15, just slightly ahead of the FTSE's long-term average of around 14, and there's a dividend yield of about 4% expected.
ARM Holdings (ARM)
A bumper set of first-quarter results sent the price of chip designer ARM Holdings soaring on Tuesday, and it ended the week up 106 pence (12.2%) to 979 pence. Earnings per share surged by 58% to 5.31 pence, after the number of ARM-based chips shipped during the quarter climbed by 35% to 2.6 billion and helped push revenue up 28% to 170 million pounds and pre-tax profit up 44% to 89.4 million pounds. CEO Warren East told us that "ARM's royalty revenues again outpaced the wider semiconductor industry."
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY 0.07%)
Lloyds Banking Group, which is the result of a series of mergers of Lloyds Bank, Trustee Savings Bank, and HBOS, announced on Wednesday that it is to split off the TSB arm again. A total of 632 of Lloyds' branches will be rebranded as TSB Bank, and the new division will be floated on the stock market. The cooperative had originally agreed (in non-binding terms) to acquire the branches, but Lloyds confirmed that it has pulled out of the deal. Lloyds stock gained 5.4 pence (11.4%) to 52.9 pence by the end of Friday.
Associated British Foods (ABF -0.37%)
Associated British Foods, which owns the successful Primark clothing chain, pleased the market with an upbeat first-half report, sending its stock up 78 pence (4.2%) to 1,925 pence. The six months to March 2 saw revenue up 10% to 6,333 million pounds, with adjusted EPS up 22% to 41.9 pence, and the interim dividend was lifted by 10% to 9.35 pence per share. These results, according to the board, "exceeded our expectations at the start of the year."
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