A 107-point surge for the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, ending at 6,945.2. Standard Chartered soared more than 8% to 1043p as investors put out the welcome mat for new boss Bill Winters. St James' Place climbed more than 5% to 978p while Royal Mail shares lifted 3.9% to 448p.
Across the water the Dow Jones pushed 227 points ahead to 18,076, helped by indications from the Fed that a rate rise is still some way off.
The main news this morning is a trip to Next. The high street retailer says total group sales climbed 7%, hitting £4 billion for the first time and will lift its full year ordinary dividend by 16% to 150p.
Sales for its online and catalogue business NEXT Directory, is upped 12% to £1,540.6m and NEXT Retail by 5%, to £2,348.2m. The Next share price rose 14% during the year, from £62.80 to £71.50.
"NEXT Brand sales in the first half," says the company, "were exceptionally strong, up +11%, but the second half was relatively disappointing, up just +5%." Next has clipped its sales forecast for the full year meanwhile.
We move onto preliminary full year numbers from real estate player Savills. Revenues climb 19% to £1,078.2m while underlying group profit before tax is up 34% to £100.5m. Group profit before tax surges 21% to £84.7m (2013: £70.1m).
"Lower transaction volumes in Hong Kong," said the company, "mainland China and Singapore were more than offset by strong performances across other regions. We achieved record revenues in the UK and our European operations also returned to profitability."
Finally, electronics parts distributorPremier Farnell. Total revenues slip 0.8% to £960.1m while adjusted operating profits dip 5.4% to £88m. Total operating profits are down 9.2% to £83.1m. The news saw Premier's share price slip hard in early trading.
However there was underlying sales growth of 3.3% year on year; the adjusted operating profit of £88.0m is flat at constant currency levels claims Premier.
"The past financial year has been a challenging period for Premier Farnell as we position ourselves for future profitable growth. The investments we have made to date will enable us to execute our strategic growth initiatives."
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