London shares remain modestly in positive territory in early deals on Thursday, with several strong corporate results off-setting a mixed session on Wall Street and in Asia overnight. The FTSE 100 index nudges around 10 points higher to 6,155, with midcaps and smaller companies also marginally ahead.
Home and car insurer Admiral (ADM) tops the blue-chip leader board, advancing 7% to £18.83 after making a record £377 million pre-tax profit in 2015, 6% higher than the level achieved in 2014. The full-year dividend was hiked up by 16% to 114.4p a share.
Temporary power provider Aggreko (AGK) is also a strong performer, up 9% to 976p, as 2015 pre-tax-profit comes in at £252 million, in line with market expectations. Guidance for profit in the year to 31 December 2016 is also in line or slightly better than expected, with chief executive Chris Weston citing a good pipeline and increased investment in new gas and diesel-powered generators.
Bricks and mortar play Persimmon (PSN) guides the losers lower with its fall of 6% to 2013.5p, chased lower by several other house builders.
Premier Inn and Costa-owner Whitbread (WTB) falls 2.3% to £39.58 after revealing a further slowdown in growth in the 11 weeks to 11 February, with overall like-for-like sales up by just 3.2% and total sales up 7.7%. Despite this, the group says it expects full year profit to be in line with expectations.