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25-07-2012 15:24:00

LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Up On Strong Earnings

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By Preeti Upadhyaya, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.K. stocks rose Wednesday, boosted by strong corporate results and shrugging off fresh concerns over Greece's ability to repay debt and a 0.7% contraction in U.K. gross domestic product, while miners and banks lent support.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.4% at 5,519.32.

The U.K.'s GDP dropped 0.7% in the second-quarter compared with the first quarter of 2012, below analysts' prediction of a 0.2% drop.

Weighing the index, BT Group PLC (BT) dropped 3.9% after reporting first-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations, with disappointing revenue figures.

Also on the move down, Johnson Matthey PLC fell 2.% following first-quarter results. Tim Stevenson, chairman of Johnson Matthey, cited "a substantial reduction in operating profit from Precious Metal Products Division which was particularly impacted by the effect of lower precious metal prices."

British American Tobacco PLC (BTI) fell 0.4% after posting slight gains in profit but flat volumes.

Among other notable losers, Tullow Oil PLC fell 4.7% despite posting strong second-quarter results.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) dropped 1.4% after releasing second-quarter results that missed expectations. GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Sir Andrew Witty pointed to "the challenging macro-economic environment in which we are operating and the continued transition of our product portfolio."

Lending support in London, semiconductor firm ARM Holdings PLC added 6.4% after its second-quarter results beat expectations. ARM Chief Executive Warren East said, "ARM's royalty revenues continued to outperform the overall semiconductor industry as our customers gained market share within existing markets and launched products which are taking ARM technology into new markets."

Capita PLC climbed 3.8% following second-quarter results that showed the personnel firm had landed several new contracts and 10 new businesses in 2012.

RSA Insurance Group PLC was also on the rise, picking up 3.4%.

Further lifting the index, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) jumped 3.3%, while banking major HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) picked up 1.4%. Standard Chartered PLC rose 1.1%. Barclays PLC (BCS) gained 1%.

Mining firms lent additional support, as metal prices rose across the board. Vedanta Resources PLC added 2.4% and Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC climbed 1.8%. Industry giant Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) gained 0.9%.

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 25, 2012 09:24 ET (13:24 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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