The FTSE 100 is trading 39.3 points higher (0.57%) at 6,966 on mixed results from some of its largest companies.
Imperial Tobacco (IMT) led the risers in early trading gaining 2.6% to £32.06 thanks to an upbeat outlook offsetting concerns over interim sales falling 5%.
Supermarkets operator Sainsbury's (SBRY) cheapens 1.2% (3.35p) to 271.65p despite delivering slightly better-than-expected full-year results. The numbers still show a grocer in distress, with like-for-like sales (ex-VAT, ex-fuel) down 1.9% and underlying profit before tax down 14.7% to £681 million. The grocer also fell to its first full-year loss in a decade, swinging to a statutory loss of £72 million (2013/14: £898 million profit) after property write-downs.
Branded fashion retailer SuperGroup (SGP) struts 4.8% to £10.45 on an upbeat year-end trading statement. CEO Euan Sutherland flags better-than-expected fourth quarter trading, confirming the positive trend seen over Christmas continued into the final quarter, and assures full-year pre-tax profit will be in-line with the £60 to £65 million guidance range. More on the story can be read here.
Recycled packaging group DS Smith (SMDS) adds 0.8% to 351p on a positive trading update in which it says strong underlying growth, driven by volumes and market share gains, is more than offsetting the negative effect of currency translation. Volume growth in the second half of the year was ahead of the first half when it reported 2.3% growth.
OneSavings Bank (ONS) gains 4.6% to 304.5p on net interest margins ahead of expectations as lending improved by £455 million in the first quarter.
Egyptian testing specialist Integrated Diagnostics’ (IDHC) shares rise 17% to $5.21 as it debuts on the official list. The shares were initially priced at $4.45 each, which valued the business at $668 million. Unconditional dealings start on May 11.
Pubs group JD Wetherspoon (JDW) rises 1.4% to 746.5p on a 1.7% increase in like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to 26 April. The group's breakfast initiatives were the key driver but this came at a cost with the operating margin 50 basis points lower at 7.5%. It says the second half of the last financial year was strong, which will make it difficult to improve on in the current year.
Hotelier PPHE Hotel (PPH) tumbles 4.3% to 551.5p after warning the strength of the pound against the euro could have an adverse effect on demand for its UK hotels while extensive renovations in 2015 could also have a temporary negative impact on the performance of some hotels. Revenue in the three months to 31 March rose by 12.5% to €61.5 million.
Xtract Resources (XTR) jumps 20% to 0.3p as it improves the grade of gold concentrate produced from a project in Chile. We take a closer look at the stock, which has jumped by more than 300% in the past few months, in this article.
Mariana Resources (MARL:AIM) falls 8.6% to 2.65p despite saying a new round of drilling has started a gold/copper prospect in Turkey.