The FTSE 100 edges 31.30 points, or 0.45%, higher to 7,000 as the blue chip index continues its impressive run this year, rising by some 7% since the start of January and reaching record highs along the way.
Among the largest risers in early trading was commercial property developer Land Securities (LAND), which gains 2.8% to £13.46 on the value of its assets growing 27.6% during the 12 months to the end of March. The company, which built the Walkie Talkie in the City, increased its dividend by 3.7% to 31.8p a share.
Irish support services group DCC (DCC) soars by 9.6% to £48.13 as full-year results beat expectations and it makes the largest acquisition in the group's history. A running Shares Play of the Week, DCC is buying Butagaz from Shell for €464 million, the number two player in the French liquefied petroleum gas.
Convenience food manufacturer Greencore (GNC) gathers up 2.8%, up 9.5p to 353.4p on tasty half-time figures showing growth in sales, profits and the dividend. CEO Patrick Coveney highlights 8.7% like-for-like growth in the food to go part of the business, the growth engine going forwards.
Price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com (MONY) falls 5.3% to 286.5p as founder and non-exec director Simon Nixon sells 20 million shares at 280p. This represents 3.7% of the issued share capital and takes his overall stake down to 12.8% - with his holding now below 15% a relationship agreement which allowed Nixon to nominate a non-executive director to the board is void.
Polish hydrocarbons play San Leon Energy (SLE:AIM) is up 25% to 1.32p as it confirms the Rawicz project has delivered the group’s first bookable reserves in the country. The field is now estimated to have proved and probable (2P) reserves of around 50 billion cubic feet of gas based upon a five-well development plan and San Leon is carried by partner Palomar for the first two wells.
Alternative energy play Intelligent Energy (IEH) slips 1.8% to 74.6p after the group reported a wider pre-tax loss in the six months to the end of March as rising staff numbers and increased R&D costs offset a rise in revenue. The £140.4 million cap which is still in the process of developing its fuel cell technology for several applications, reported a pre-tax loss of £27.3 million for the half-year despite revenue growing strongly to £27.4 million from £3.5 million.
Shipping services specialist Braemar Shipping Services (BMS) makes modest gains, adding 0.2% to 490p on the back of 16% increase in full-year revenues to £145.8 million. Underlying operating profit at the group which merged last year with ACM Shipping was up 21% at £11.3 million.
Central European vodka producer Stock Spirits (STCK) softens 2.9% to 182.6p as it flags an 'extremely weak' first quarter, though the company is encouraged by 'the re-emergence of more normal trading conditions' in the six weeks since Easter.
Kitty Bingo and Lucky Pants Bingo operator Stride Gaming (STR:AIM) makes an encouraging debut on the AIM market with its shares, listed at 132p, surging to 157.5p in early trading. The company, chaired by former Sportingbet boss Nigel Payne, has raised £11.2 million to acquire online bingo companies which are struggling to cope with the new UK Point of Consumption tax.