LONDON -- For a while it looked as if the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) was going to end its winning streak, but a final flourish on Friday saw it end the week 13 points up at 6,735. That might not be much, but it's enough to extend the upward momentum for four weeks in a row now, and take the London index to within 141 points of the 13-year record of 6,876 set in May. Maybe 7,000 by Christmas, anyone?
Oil giant BP is picking itself up from the Gulf of Mexico disaster, with an impressive set of Q3 results on Tuesday. Underlying replacement cost profit did fall, from $5.02 billion in the same quarter last year to $3.69 billion, but that nicely beat expectations and was a significant improvement on Q2's $2.7 billion.
In an indication of confidence, BP upped its quarterly dividend by 5.6% to 9.5 cents per share (57 cents per ADS). The share price? It jumped on the day and finished the week 33.6 pence (7.5%) ahead at 485 pence.
BT Group (LSE:BT-A)
Telecoms operator BT Group has had a strong year, with its share price up around 65% over the past 12 months to 379 pence. That includes a gain of 19.5 pence (5.4%) this week in response to first-half results released Thursday.
Underlying revenue for the six months fell 0.8%, but adjusted pre-tax profit was up 3% to 1,204 million pounds, with adjusted earnings per share up 3% to 11.9 pence. The interim dividend was lifted 13% to 3.4 pence per share.
Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE:FRAS)
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland dropped 28 pence (7.7%) to end Friday at 340 pence, after slumping on Friday when the bailed-out bank told us it is not going to divide itself into a "good bank" and a "bad bank."
Instead it is to ring-fence 38 billion pounds of high-risk assets, which represents 20% of its capital, with a target of ridding itself of 55%-70% of its bad debts within two years. The accounting result will most likely be a big loss for the year.
Shares in aerospace engineer Meggitt were riding high, having climbed 50% over the past 12 months -- until a profit warning on Friday. Citing production difficulties and a "raw material supply issue" dating back to 2012, which should require the replacement of some product parts, the company told us it is likely to take a 20 million-pound hit.
The share price crashed 11% on Friday to 509 pence, for an overall loss of 52.5 pence (9.3%) after having risen earlier in the week.
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