Shares were subdued ahead of the Budget on Tuesday with dealers waiting to see what the Chancellor had in store for the business sector.
By midday, the FTSE 100 index was up 25 points at 6233 after showing a mid-morning peak of 6287.3. The FTSE 250 index, meanwhile, showed only a minor rise, climbing 9.6 points to 5368.8.
Engineering shares, however, powered ahead with a crop of financial results giving the market some concrete idea of sector prospects, and many investors waking up to the bargains on offer.
TI was up 24p at 472.5p, another big gain to add to Monday’s 7p rise. Other engineers were also up as improved sentiment gathered a head of steam.
Senior Engineering climbed 4p at 141p after announcing a 24% rise in operating profits before exceptionals. Chief executive Andrew Parrish expressed frustration at the performance of the shares over the past year but said the company strategy would continue unabated.
Elsewhere in the sector, Glynwed International climbed 12p to 208p after an upbeat trading statement, while the rest of the engineering sector was mostly ahead, including Bodycote, which jumped 43p to 890p.
BBA Group bucked the trend, however, falling 8p to 438p. This was put down to profit taking after full year results which showed the company’s profits up 7% to £165.1m and nearly a percentage point improvement in margins.