The London market edged ahead in afternoon trading despite a flurry of corporate news.

THE FTSE 100 Index lifted 9.4 points to 6719.6, as traders reactions to a regulatory ruling on telecoms giant BT and quarterly earnings from oil major BP were subdued. The FTSE 250 Index rose 14.3 points to 17105.3.

Watchdog Ofcom said BT's Openreach division, which runs the UK's broadband infrastructure, should become a distinct company within the BT group.

But the regulator fell short of insisting that Openreach be split off entirely from BT, which saw shares in the group jump 18.2p to 405.7p.

Trustnet Direct market analyst Tony Cross said: "Openreach will need to be a legally separate entity, but remain part of the overall group – doubtless both sides will now wade in with objections, but investors in the legacy operator are clearly breathing a sigh of relief."

BP said its second-quarter profits at almost halved from a year earlier as the company suffered from lower oil prices and weak refining margins. Underlying replacement cost profit for the quarter fell to $720m (£550m, €655m), down 44% from $1.3bn a year earlier. Shares fell 12.2p to 428.2p.

But overall traders sat on their hands ahead of the US Federal Reserve's key interest rate decision later this week.

In afternoon trading the biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were BT Group (+18.2 to 405.7p), Provident Financial (+87p to 2687p), Mondi (+47p to 1515p), Fresnillo (+52p to 1853p) and GKN (+8p to 297.9p).

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 Index were Tesco (-5.6p to 156.5p), BP (-12.2p to 428.2p), Barratt Developments (-9.6p to 409.4p), EasyJet (-23p to 997p) and Sainsbury's (-5p to 222.8p).

In afternoon trading the biggest risers on the FTSE 250 Index were Hochschild Mining (+16.4p to 243.3p), Virgin Money (+17.4p to 262.1p), Ibstock (+7.5p to 156.5p), SEGRO (+15.5p to 436.5p) and OneSavings Bank (+6.2p to 208.2p).

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 250 Index were Man Group (-6.9p to 115.5p), Capital & Counties Properties (-12.2p to 284.2p), Countryside Properties (-6p to 225.5p), Greencore (-7.8p to 313.7p) and Restaurant Group (-7.7p to 320.3p)