BT boost on FTSE

Telecoms giant BT led the FTSE 100 Index higher today after cost cutting helped boost third quarter profits by 7%.

The blue chip reported pre-tax profits of £675 million in the three months to December 31 and said it saw rapid growth in its broadband customer base, helping shares lift 4% or 9.8p to 258.4p.

The wider FTSE 100 Index was also making gains, up 30 points to 6306.9, after enjoying its strongest January for 24 years.

A disappointing final session of the month yesterday did not derail the new year rally, which saw the top tier rise by more than 6% – or 379 points – and add around £96 billion to the value of blue chip shares in January.

But sugar and ingredients group Tate & Lyle was suffering after its trading update confirmed that underlying third quarter profits were lower than a year earlier, although in line with expectations.

Shares in the Silver Spoon group fell 4% or 28.5p to 784p.

Elsewhere, bank note printer De La Rue was 3% higher after an update confirming that order intake has been satisfactory with some previously delayed orders having now been received.

Shares in the FTSE 250 Index firm rose 28.5p to 930.5p.

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