A busy session for corporate activity today revitalised the FTSE 100 Index and eased concerns that its recent rally had run its course.
Plasterboard maker BPB was in the thick of the action after ditching its opposition to being taken over by a French rival, while investors welcomed news that retailer GUS was proceeding with its separation from Burberry next month.
Markets in Asia had racked up triple-digit gains overnight and contributed to the good mood in London where the Footsie put on 38.3 points at 5468.3 by mid-morning.
BPB added 4% or 27.5p to 769p after shaking hands on a deal with Saint-Gobain worth almost £3.9m (€5.7m), bringing an end to the UK’s biggest hostile takeover campaign in years.
But it was beaten to the top of the risers board by GUS after the firm set December 13 as a date for the demerger of Burberry and published its half-year results.
Shares in GUS lifted 4% or 35.5p to 885.5p as higher profits from its Experian credit-checking arm cushioned the decline in contributions from its retail businesses.
But the mood across the retail sector was mixed as Kingfisher fell 0.5p to 215.5p and supermarket chains Tesco and Morrisons dropped 3p and 0.5p to 309.25p and 173.75p respectively.
Second-tier retailer Mothercare recovered early losses to stand 3.5p higher at 338.5p after profits growth abroad shielded it from the impact of rising costs in the UK.
Back in the top flight, the heaviest faller was publisher Reed Elsevier which weakened 6% or 31p to 521.5p on lower-than-expected revenues from its Harcourt educational unit.
Bookmakers were under pressure after Paddy Power warned that it no longer expected to hit expectations for operating profits in the wake of a string of adverse horse-racing results.
Hilton Group revealed the gross win – turnover less winnings paid out to punters – at its Ladbrokes chain in the UK was also down but only to a slight extent.
Shares in Hilton fell 3p to 336p as investors hung in for a potential windfall from the sale of its hotels, but William Hill did not have that cushion and fell 3% or 14.5p to 517.5p.