Sugar group Tate & Lyle helped London’s leading shares end the week on a high note today amid relief over the impact of EU sugar reforms.
The stock was the highest top flight climber on a day when gains by advertising giant WPP and a string of property firms also lifted the mood.
The FTSE 100 Index closed 12.8 points higher at 5523.8, close to its recent four-year high.
Its performance was also boosted by signs in official GDP figures that consumer spending could be on the way back. Data form the Office for National Statistics showed household expenditure grew at 0.5% between July and September - its fastest pace in nearly a year.
Tate & Lyle cheered 40.25p to a seven-year high of 567p after analysts said the EU sugar reform announced yesterday offered a better-than-expected result for its future profits.
British Sugar owner Associated British Foods also benefited, lifting 5p to 843p.
WPP featured high on the risers board as investors welcomed news that it was not planning to make a joint bid with private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for media group Aegis. The stock lifted 2% or 11.5p to 577.5p, although Aegis lost almost 3%, down 3.25p to 117.75p.
PartyGaming was another blue-chip climber after an upbeat broker note from Lehman Brothers, adding 3.5p to 108.75p.
Among other developments, property companies put back some of the losses seen in the wake of yesterday’s disappointing results from British Land.
The company itself gained 11.5p to 1004p, while Hammerson added 13.5p to 985p and Land Securities cheered 21p to 1578p.
In contrast, disappointment at third quarter figures from retailer Tesco provided a negative drag on the Footsie, and BAT was off by more than 3% as traders fretted about the trading performance at the tobacco group.
BAT was down 47p at 1263p, while Tesco slipped 2.75p to 310p after its latest update came in slightly below market expectations.
While it was the company’s worst quarterly sales growth for two years, Tesco pointed out it was up against strong comparatives with a year earlier and a slowing market.
Elsewhere, Shed Productions surged almost 11% as the maker of Footballers’ Wives said it was paying at least £25m (€36.6m) for Ricochet, the company which makes Supernanny and Risking It All. Shares closed 11.5p higher at 118.5p.
London Pride brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner advanced 7p to 948.5p as it posted a 5% hike in profits.
Fuller’s said turnover was up 4% to £67.4m (€98.5m) in the six months to October 1, driven by a strong performance by its beers, pubs and hotels.
The highest Footsie risers today were Tate & Lyle up 40.25p to 567p, PartyGaming rising 3.5p to 108.75p, William Hill up 11p to 525.5p and InterContinental Hotels rising 16p to 800p.
The heaviest fallers were BAT down 47p to 1263p, BAE Systems losing 5p to 344p, Aviva off 9p to 696.5p and Schroders down 8.5p to 900p.