Embattled construction services business Carillion (CLLN) rallies more than 17% at 54.75p as speculation emerges that a Middle East buyer may be prepping a takeover of the company.

The company has lost nearly 75% of its market value since mid-July when it booked an £845m writedown on problematic construction contracts and announced the departure of its chief executive.

Carillion’s troubles have been compounded by its debt pile and pension obligations and trouble collecting cash from clients.

Otherwise it is a largely quiet day for corporate news across the stock market on Wednesday. With little earnings guidance to give investors direction the market remains in a mildly positive mood, the FTSE 100 index nudging around 30 points higher in early trade to 7,316.

TRADERS SPARK PLUS BEAT

Among the more notable company updates, British spreadbetting firm Plus500 (PLUS) says on Wednesday that full year revenue and profits will be ahead of market expectations. That excites investors enough to bid up shares in the rough £1bn company almost 7% to 887.5p.

Consensus forecast had been pitched at around £208m of pre-tax profit from £363m of revenue.

British online fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO:AIM) raises its full-year revenue outlook for the second time in four months as it reports a 41% rise in first-half profit.

But investors take a pause given the stock’s lively 50%-plus six month rally, the share price declining about 4.5% on Wednesday to 246.75p, presumably because profit takers are swooping.

SECOND HALF WEIGHTING WORRIES

TV shows and films maker Entertainment One (ETO) confirms that it remains roughly on track to meet full year expectations as it reports an update in the first six months trading.

Consensus estimates call for £135m of pre-tax profit for the year to 31 March 2018, on £1.17bn revenue.

But overall box office revenues at its film division has nearly halved so far in the year to date. There's also a steer towards a required stronger second half, knocking confidence and sparking a 6.5% share price fall to 241.4p.

Among the blue-chips movers, education publisher Pearson (PSON) leads the FTSE 100 higher, the stock rallying around 4% to 607p. Miners and financials are also firm.

Going the other way, Randgold Resources (RRS), NMC Health (NMC) and National Grid (NG.) are all near the top of the FTSE 1900 loser board, off between 0.6% and 1%.

UBER FACES JOBS SHOWDOWN

Away from quoted stocks, taxi firm Uber is expected to tell a British employment appeal tribunal on Wednesday that its drivers are self-employed and not workers entitled to a range of extra benefits, less than a week after the firm was told it would lose its London licence.

Gold is largely unchanged on Wednesday after falling over 1% in the previous session on hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, while lingering North Korea worries supported prices.

Brent oil prices nudge ahead on Wednesday, hovering around a 26-month high hit in the previous session. That strength is supported by US data showing an unexpected drop in crude stocks as refineries.

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Issue Date: 27 Sep 2017