FTSE up despite BP annual losses

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The FTSE 100 Index opened 26.7 points higher at 5890.3

BP shares have fallen more than 1% after the oil giant restored dividend payments but posted a smaller than expected fourth quarter profit.

The return of shareholder payouts, starting with seven cents a share for the most recent quarter, came despite the company’s first annual loss since 1992 as it counted the 40.9 billion US dollar cost of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP shares were 6.6p lower at 478.25p but it failed to pull the overall London market lower as nerves steadied following an uncertain start to the week.

The FTSE 100 Index was 26.7 points higher at 5890.3 after gains on Wall Street offset worries about the political unrest in Egypt and as prospects for an interest rate hike by China’s central bank appeared to fade.

Miners were the main beneficiaries of the improved confidence as Kazakhmys lifted 58p to 1564p and Antofagasta gained 45p to 1451p.

In other corporate news, shares in Carpetright were 52p lower at 677.5p after it warned on profits following a 7.7% drop in like-for-like sales for the UK and Ireland in the 13 weeks to January 29.

Analysts said profits in the year to April were likely to be 20% lower than previous hopes at around £20 million.

Grocery delivery firm Ocado moved in the opposite direction, up 9.7p to 227.6p, after it said it made its first profit during the quarter to December 30. Full-year results were also in line with expectations.

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