* FTSE 100 up 0.3 pct
* GKN, Next lead gains on strong results
* BP also lends support after results
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, July 29 Britain's top equity index was a
touch higher on Tuesday, led by fashion chain Next and
car and plane parts maker GKN after strong results and
Shares in GKN and Next were the top risers on the FTSE, up
5.7 percent and 2.5 percent. The former raised its dividend as
its profits rose; the latter increased its earnings guidance
after a strong second quarter.
"In both cases, good numbers," said Patrick Butler, chief
executive at Prime Wealth Group, which had recommended GKN as
its tip for August.
"GKN was being punished for a stronger sterling ... but we
didn't think the company was going to be as badly affected as
the market had anticipated. Next has come out with another
stunning set of numbers and sales are higher than anticipated."
Britain's FTSE 100 was up 17.87 points, or 0.3
percent, at 6,805.94 points at 0750 GMT. The index has traded in
a 1 percent range for the past week as investors awaited this
week's key economic data, which culminate in the U.S. non-farm
payrolls report on Friday.
British retailers and housebuilders will be in focus at 0830
GMT, when consumer credit and mortgage lending figures for June
Conflict in Palestine, where Israel has invaded the Gaza
strip, and tensions between Western powers and Russia over
Ukraine have further dampened appetite for risk this month.
BP rose 0.5 percent and added 1.7 points to the FTSE.
The oil major posted a better-than-expected 34 percent rise in
quarterly profit after increasing production of higher-margin
products and selling its liquids and gas at higher prices.
The company's production, however, fell nearly 3 percent to
3.1 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. Russian crude oil
production made up about a third of the company's output.
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Larry King)