FTSE Close: Rolls-Royce, Beazley soar, WPP falls

London stocks finished higher on Thursday, buoyed by minutes from the European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve hinting at a less aggressive monetary policy path.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up 0.3% at 7,684.49, with insurer Beazley leading the gainers after raising its annual guidance and announcing a potential $300 million shareholder return. Its shares rocketed 8.9%.

Engineering giant Rolls-Royce also impressed, initially jumping 9.3% after reporting a swing to a £2.43 billion pretax profit and strong revenue growth. CEO Tufan Erginbilgic said the company’s “transformation has delivered a record performance” despite a challenging environment.

However, advertising group WPP suffered a 6.4% decline after revealing a 70% plunge in pretax profit. CEO Mark Read blamed cuts in spending by technology clients but expressed confidence in future growth.

Daily Highlights:

In the FTSE 250, pharmaceutical firm Indivior surged 22% on revenue growth and a swing to nominal pretax profit. The company also announced plans to explore a potential primary listing in the US. The broader FTSE 250 index closed up 0.8% at 19,263.50.

Meanwhile, the AIM All-Share closed down 0.63% at 749.96.

Overall, the positive sentiment following the central bank minutes overshadowed concerns about global economic headwinds, leading to a positive day for most London stocks, except for the AIM which saw a slight decline.

FTSE All-Share Gainers

Indivior 22.42%, ME Group 20.03%, Vh Global Sust. 15.19%, Jupiter Fund Management 10.67%, Beazley 8.93%, Rolls-Royce 8.29%, Manchester&lon. 7.62%, Close Bros 7.54%, Cab Payments 6.69%, Regional Reit 6.36%.

FTSE All-Share Fallers

Hargreaves Lansdown -7.23%, WPP -6.38%, Seraphim Sp -5.8%, Tullow Oil -5.25%, Endeavour Mining -4.73%, Wag Payment -4.63%, Safestore -3.7%, Dominos -3.22%, Victrex -3.1%, Tesco -3.05%.