A modest 15 points were added to the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, ending at 6,949.6. By a big margin Mondi was the biggest riser, up almost 9% to 1414p after investors cheered a strong start to the year for the packaging player. Fresnillo shares jumped 5% to 750p while both housebuilders Persimmon and Barratt were also up strongly, 4% and 3.4% respectively.
Stateside, the Dow Jones flat-lined, down seven points, ending at 18,060.4, its third day of straight successive losses.
The main news this morning is a quarterly trading update from ITV. Total external revenues climb 14% to £665m (2014: £585m) while Broadcast & Online revenues climb 10% to £530m (2014: £480m). ITV Studios revenue climbs 17% to £224m (2014: £192m) with 8% organic growth claimed.
Looking forward, ITV net advertising revenue is expected to be up around 5% in the first half of the year. There was no detail on profits. ITV shares closed yesterday ats 260p, close to a five-year high.
"We've had a strong start to the year," says boss Adam Crozier, "with further growth across all parts of the business as we continue to deliver against our strategy."
Its Wealth platform sales were up 15%, pension sales climbed 40%, ISA sales were up 20% and funds under management hit £100bn at the quarter end claims the FTSE 100 South African operator.
"We believe," says boss Julian Roberts, "our vertically-integrated UK model is well positioned to take advantage of the changes to the UK pension regime. Overall we expect continued sound performance for the current year."
Lastly, a look at pub player Marston's numbers for the 26 weeks up to 4 April. Underlying Group revenue climbs 3% to £384.5m while underlying profit before tax is up 2% to £29.6m.
The brewer of Pedigree bitter claims underlying earnings per share rises 2% to 4.2 pence per share. The interim dividend was up 4% to 2.5 pence per share.
"Profits," says boss Ralph Findlay, "have increased in each of our trading segments...and we remain on track to complete 25 new-builds this year with excellent visibility on our site pipeline in 2015 and 2016."
Where to invest your Isa in 2015
The Portfolio Careerist
Investing for high income in 2015