The FTSE 100 climbed 13.4 points to 6,816.3 on Wednesday. Standard Chartered was the biggest climber, up 2.43% to 1222p while Ashtead Group also climbed, up 2.24% to 914.50p. Primark owner ABF rose 2.14% to 3097p. Royal Mail, on the other hand, came under more pressure, down 2.46% to 479.10p.
The Dow Jones climbed 20.1 points to 16,976.2, helped by more jobs optimism.
We commence with a trading update for the half-year up to 27 June from Balfour Beatty. Overall Group pre-tax profit expectations for 2014 remain unchanged since the Q1 interim, in the range of £145 - £160 million.
However Balfour has seen a seen a further worsening in the trading performance of its mechanical and electrical engineering (Engineering Services) part of its UK construction business since Q1.
"This further deterioration amounts," says the company, "to a £35 million profit shortfall but will be broadly offset by further targeted PPP disposal gains in the second half of 2014." The level of the order book remains broadly unchanged from £12.9 billion at the end of Q1.
Retail like-for-like sales were up 4.1% while food like-for-like sales climbed 5.0%. Greene King's return on capital employed climbs 30 basis points to 9.2%.The volume share of UK ale market up 70 basis points to 11.3%.
"Pub Partners," says chief exec Rooney Anand, "and Brewing & Brands also performed well. As a result, we achieved strong earnings, return on capital employed and dividend growth for the year."
Lastly, LondonMetric Property says its joint venture with Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd has exchanged contracts to buy Trostre South Retail Park in Llanelli from Benesco, a charity, for £12.8 million, with a net initial yield of 6.8%.
The 75,400 sq ft retail park is let to B&Q, Pets at Home and KFC with a vacant unit of 10,000 sq ft, formerly Dreams, subject to a two-year rent guarantee.
"Having reached," says chief exec Andrew Jones, "the Joint Venture's original investment target in December, today's transaction enables LondonMetric to make progress towards achieving a 50% ownership position."
Breaking news: Poundland profits shrink 19% to £21.5m.