Business

BT helps European shares edge higher after results beat

February 01, 2013

An old BT telephone box painted with the Union flag stands out in the snow at Staplefield in south east England January 19, 2013. — Reuters picAn old BT telephone box painted with the Union flag stands out in the snow at Staplefield in south east England January 19, 2013. — Reuters picLONDON, Feb 1 — European shares edged higher in choppy trade Today, led by UK stocks after telecoms operator BT reported better-than-expected results.

Strong demand for broadband and tight cost control helped BT offset the combined pressures of regulation and recession to post a better-than-expected 7 per cent rise in third-quarter pre-tax profit, sending its shares 4.2 per cent higher.

The broader FTSEurofirst 300 index was 0.2 per cent higher at 1,166.87 points, struggling for direction as key economic releases due later in the day, including euro zone manufacturing figures and a US jobs report, kept investors on tenterhooks.

“The initial data from the euro zone and the UK may give us some direction but then again I think towards midday we’re going to see some volatility, low volumes and people staying on the sidelines, Ishaq Siddiqi, a strategist at ETX Capital, said.

But Spain’s Ibex shed 1.5 per cent after the country’s market regulator lifted its ban on selling borrowed stocks and bonds, is a sign some investors were betting on declines in Spanish stocks after a 23 per cent rally in the past month. — Reuters

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