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Hargreaves jump boosts gains for Footsie

Fund manager Hargreaves Lansdown helped London's blue- chip share index make further gains as robust earnings continued to boost sentiment.

Hargreaves soared 11%, or 82.5p, to 817p after a 30% jump in pre-tax profits in its first-half results and said assets under administration had surged 16% from June 30 to £30.4 billion.

The FTSE-100 index closed 12.6 points higher at 6295.3 as it continued its return to form after Monday's 100 point slump, helped by encouraging economic indicators from the eurozone and US.

However, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped into the red in early trading despite better-than-expected figures from the likes of Disney, giving back some of the previous session's near-100 point rally.

Wall Street responded to falls across Europe amid lingering worries over the political stability in Spain and Italy, with the Dax in Germany down 1.1% and France's Cac 40 off 1.4%. The European concerns helped the pound rise to 1.16 euros, but sterling fell to a six month low against the US dollar – to just under 1.57 dollars.

In London, banking stocks played a part in the market bounce back, even though RBS announced £391 million in fines to US and UK authorities over the Libor rigging scandal.

RBS rose 4.6p to 342.1p, while fellow taxpayer-backed player Lloyds Banking Group was up 0.6p to 52.1p.

Barclays, which agreed a £290m settlement on Libor misconduct last year, edged 0.2p higher to 295.5p and HSBC lifted 3.7p to 713.1p.

However, investors changed their minds about oil giant BP, sending the stock down 3p to 465.75p, following a 1% rise after it posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results of £2.5 billion.

Rival Royal Dutch Shell joined it on the fallers board, down 11p to 2245p. Chip designer ARM eased back after Tuesday's 4% gains after fourth-quarter results beat market expectations. The shares edged 2.5p lower to 933.5p yesterday.

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline lifted 7.75p to 1445p despite reporting a 5% fall in underlying operating profits, to £8.3bn for 2012. The group's fourth quarter revealed a better performance, with a 1% rise in underlying earnings.

Elsewhere, the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday enjoyed a 6% shares hike, up 36p to 640p, after reporting higher first quarter revenues thanks to growth at its business-to-business arm. Daily Mail & General Trust saw this offset another slide in its national newspaper arm, DMG Media, with revenues down by 4%.

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