Business

FTSE 100 hits 14-month high at 6,851 points

Traders in London Image copyright AFP

(Close): The London market closed at a 14-month high on Tuesday, led by a near-7% rise for insurer Standard Life.

The FTSE 100 index ended 42 points, or 0.6%, higher, at 6,851 - above a level last reached in June 2015.

The blue-chip index has now risen almost 10% this year despite the sharp falls in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Standard Life was the biggest riser, up 21.5p to 340p after its half-year results beat expectations.

The value of its assets under administration rose 7% to £328bn, while operating profits climbed 18% to £341m.

Rival insurer Legal & General reported a 10% rise in half-year operating profit to £822m, but its shares fell as investors focused on a fall in profits at its investment management businesses.

That decline overshadowed a 44% rise in profits at its retirement division.

William Hill ended 0.5% higher after the bookmaker rejected had received a £31.bn takeover bid from a consortium formed by Rank Group and 888.

Royal Bank of Scotland, TUI, easyJet and Standard Chartered were the other big risers on Tuesday.

Along with L&G, Carnival, Sky, Aviva and Antofagasta were the biggest fallers.

On the FTSE 250, which added 0.75% to 17,687 points, Amec Foster Wheeler jumped almost 12%, while SIG fell just over 6%.

Shares in estate agent Savills rose 0.7% even though it said the uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum led to profits at its UK commercial property business halving in the first half of the year.

On the currency markets, the pound was weaker on speculation that UK monetary policy could be eased further in the months ahead.

Sterling fell 0.3% against the dollar to $1.3007 and also dropped 0.6% against the euro to €1.1698.

"The pound's been sold on speculation that the Bank of England is ready to launch more monetary easing in the coming months should the data turn sour," said Neil Wilson at ETX Capital.

"It's hard to see much good news to prevent the Bank from building on its expanded QE programme over the autumn."