FTSE indices raced higher in early deals on Wednesday after positive sessions on Wall Street overnight and Asia this morning, while key European bourses leap. Blue-chip financials, leisure and retail stocks are enjoying heady gains. Shortly after the open, FTSE 100 is up 50-odd points, or 0.85%, at 6,190, while midcaps make similar gains. But Small cap stocks fail to match the progress of their larger peers, managing barely single digit gains.
The big breaking news is in the beer industry, where the world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD:NYSE), is set to make a multi-billion dollar takeover offer for UK rival SABMiller (SAB). SAB has confirmed talks, or although there are no details of the scale of the bid. SAB shares jump 23% to £37.07, valuing the giant at nearly £60 billion.
Among the bigger movers, Fuel tech play Quadrise Fuels (QFI:AIM) is up 10.1% to 12.94p as it moves one step away from achieving commercial revenues from its patented low emulsion fuel - MSAR. A MSAR unit will be installed at CEPSA's refinery near Gibraltar ahead of final trials in the first quarter of next year which will should lead to letters of no objection from the manufacturers of the engines on Danish container shipping giant AP Møller Maersk's (MAERSK-A:CO) vessels. Maersk will then be able to use MSAR to power its fleet.
SeaEnergy (SEA:AIM) crashes 15% to 6.25p as half-year losses widen to £2.94 million, from a loss of £0.11 million a year ago. Revenue was down and the result included about £2 million of impairments.
Infrastructure services group Balfour Beatty (BBY) has made a recommended cash offer for Alkane Energy (ALK:AIM) sparking the target company shares to soar more than 40%. Each Alkane shareholder would receive a premium 36p in cash.
Tri-Star Resources (TSTR:AIM), up 12% to 0.14p, says financial close has been achieved on the Oman Antimony Roaster Project. The plant was expected to commission in 2016 with commercial production starting by 2017.
Cancer-focused diagnostic and drug developer ValiRx (VAL:AIM) dives 9.8% to 27.5p on raising £3.4 million from various equity deals, one of which saw it sell 8.1 million shares for around 30p each. The proceeds will fund its research.
Elsewhere, Graphics chip designer Imagination Technologies (IMG) fails to impress with its latest trading update, investors selling down the stock by close on 6% to 244.25p. Concerns persist over shipment levels and royalty income.
TV and film rights business Entertainment One (ETO) is up 4.7% to 281.8p as the Toronto-headquartered firm announces Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board will buy (for £142.4 million) Marwyn Value Investors remaining stake, removing a potential overhang for the shares.
Toy maker Hornby (HRN:AIM) slips 1.4% to 104p after it reveals the roll-out of its new IT system impacted trading throughout July and August against a backdrop of a weaker general retail environment. It says UK sales are now back to levels which are higher than last year, but in Europe there are ongoing problems with the supply of an international model rail. First half group revenue is expected to be lower than last year. Read Shares exclusive take here.
Retailer JD Sports Fashion (JD.) sprints another 20.5p (2.3%) higher to 914p as record interims drive another round of upgrades. The Bury-headquartered retailer reports an outstanding performance from the sports fashion business and there's news of a positive start to second half trading to boot.
Indonesian palm oil-to-Australian beef cattle producer M.P. Evans (MPE:AIM) is marked down 5.25p to 355p on flat interim profits, held back by continuing low palm oil prices. Management also warns Indonesian palm oil production could be hit by the El Nino weather event.
Outsourcer Serco (SRP) gains a modest 0.6% to 104p as it completes the sale of its private sector outsourcing business for £250 million to private equity funds managed by Blackstone. The Hook, Hampshire-based mid cap is refocusing its business around government contract work.
Blood gas analyser-maker Sphere Medical (SPHR:AIM) rises 3.5% to 14.7p after its research shows that its Proxima device has the potential to reduce blood sampling-causing anaemia for those in intensive care. The device is fixed to a patient’s arm for up to six days reducing the need to take several samples and thus cutting the risk of developing the condition.
Development-phase respiratory drug company Synairgen (SNG:AIM) falls 5.1% to 32p on making a £1 million pre-tax loss in the six months to 30 June, reversing the £1.8 million pre-tax profit it made a year earlier.