European markets are in recovery mode on Wednesday, investors regaining confidence following yesterday’s gains on Wall Street and the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 rebounding by 49.4 points to 7,191 and 105.3 points to 19,368 respectively.

Among the blue chips, unloved tobacco titan Imperial Brands (IMB) wafts 3p lower to £27.27 despite a reassuring AGM trading update.

Though the Davidoff-to-Gauloises Blondes brands owner leaves full year earnings guidance unchanged, it warns of a first half and full year headwind from the strengthening of the pound. Nevertheless, Imperial Brands is gaining market share and investment in Next Generation Products is paying off, with trials of the company’s new heated tobacco products in Europe and Japan generating positive consumer feedback.

Electricity giant SSE (SSE) sparks up 9p to £12 and British Gas owner Centrica (CAN) adds 2.1p to rest at 126.2p thanks to Ofgem, which has raised the level of the ‘safeguard tariff’ by £57 a year from £1,031 to £1,089.

Mining major Rio Tinto (RIO) digs 4.5p higher to £38.50 as 2017's underlying profits jump 69% to $8.6bn and the board announces a record full year dividend of $5.2bn as well as a new share buyback totalling $1bn.

Tullow Oil (TLW) ticks 3% higher to 189p on annual results showing substantial free cash flow generation, with strong production and tight cost control allowing the company to pare borrowings and invest in its high-return assets in Ghana.

Elsewhere, housebuilder Redrow (RDW) improves 3.7% to 615.5p on half year results flagging record first half legal completions, up 14% to 2,811 homes. Profit before tax rose 26% to £176m, there’s a 50% dividend hike to 9p per share and chairman Steve Morgan assures ‘we e entered the second half with a record order book, and customer traffic and sales remain robust.'

Residential landlord Grainger (GRI) gains 1.6p to trade at 273p as CEO Helen Gordon highlights positive trading in the four months ended 31 January, Grainger seeing good demand for its rental homes and rental growth tracking higher year-on-year.

Franchise group Filta (FLTA:AIM), a provider of fryer management services to commercial kitchens, firms 2p to 176p on news 2017 sales exceeded £13.25m, so up more than 30% year-on-year. Issuing a confident outlook statement, CEO Jason Sayers expects a return to higher margins in 2018 following the sale of Filta’s lower margin refrigeration business.

Colour cosmetics supplier Warpaint London (W7L:AIM) brightens up 2.5p to 210p on a positive year end trading update. The owner of the W7 brand continued to perform well during 2017 and says its November acquisition Retra, an £18.2m deal opening up the men’s market for Warpaint, ‘has integrated well with the rest of the group and we are already seeing new opportunities and synergies from the combination.'

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Issue Date: 07 Feb 2018