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Strong Earnings, Dividend Bonanza Push FTSE 100 Higher

* BP, Standard Chartered jump on strong earnings, dividends

* Travis Perkins, TP ICAP weigh on mid-caps

* FTSE 100 up 0.4%, FTSE 250 adds 0.2% (Updates prices, adds comment)

Aug 3 (Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 gained on Tuesday as a set of upbeat earnings results supported optimism around a faster economic recovery, although gains were checked by concerns over rising Delta variant cases globally.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 edged up 0.4% as oil stocks rose. BP was the top FTSE 100 gainer with a rise of 2.9% as it said it would lift its dividend by 4% and ramp up share buybacks after second-quarter profits rose to $2.8 billion.

“Oil price up at $70 a barrel and a pickup in demand for gasoline and distillates will no doubt help BP as far as the rest of the year is concerned,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, wrote in a note.

“For now, the performance of the share price would appear to suggest that the jury remains out on whether BP will be able to pull off its ambitious plans for a 40% reduction in oil and gas production by 2030.”

The FTSE 100 has gained 10% so far this year on support from a dovish central bank and re-opening optimism. However, it has traded range-bound near its 7,000 level since April this year on fears that rising coronavirus infections and a jump in inflation could lead to less accommodative central bank policies.

The domestically focused mid-cap index rose 0.2%, led by gains in non-life insurance stocks Direct Line and Hiscox following strong earnings.

However, the index’s gains were limited by losses in building materials seller Travis Perkins and broker TP ICAP.

Travis Perkins fell 2.1% despite raising its 2021 earnings outlook and announcing a special dividend of 35 pence per share, while TP ICAP dropped 3.4% after its half-year revenue slipped 5%.

Standard Chartered PLC jumped 1.0% after it posted a higher-than-expected 57% jump in first-half pretax profit and announced a $250 million share buyback and a 3 cents per-share interim dividend payout.

Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Source: Reuters

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