Standard Chartered shares surge on results

Standard Chartered Image copyright Reuters

(Close): Shares in Standard Chartered jumped nearly 10% after it reported better than expected results.

The Asia-focused bank reported pre-tax profits of $589m for the January to March period.

Although that was down from a $1.4bn profit a year earlier, it compared with a loss of $4.05bn in the final quarter of 2015.

Standard Chartered was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100, with the index up 23.6 points at 6,284.52.

Investors were cheered by signs that the number of bad loans at the bank had fallen.

Standard Chartered said losses from impaired loans were $471m in the January to March period, compared with $1.13bn in the previous quarter.

The bank's chief executive, Bill Winters, said: "Although trading conditions in the first quarter remained challenging, we continue to make good progress on our strategic objectives."

In November last year, Standard Chartered said it would raise $5.1bn and cut 15,000 jobs by 2018 as part of a turnaround plan.

BP boost

Elsewhere on the London market, positive results from oil giant BP and Costa Coffee owner Whitbread also gave the FTSE 100 a lift.

BP shares rose 4.3% after its first quarter results beat expectations.

The oil company reported a $485m loss for the three months to March, but on an underlying basis it posted a better-than-expected profit of $532m.

Shares in Whitbread - which also owns Premier Inn hotels as well as Costa Coffee - rose 2.6% after it reported an 11.9% rise in underlying annual pre-tax profits to £546.3m.

In the FTSE 250, shares in engineering company Cobham dived 17% after it announced plans for a £500m rights issue in order to cut its debt.

Cobham also reported a 70% fall in first quarter profits to £15m

On the currency markets, the pound rose as expectations grew that the UK would vote to remain in the EU in June's referendum. Sterling climbed 0.85% against the dollar to $1.4605, and was up 0.4% against the euro at €1.2907.