London’s FTSE 100 firms 8.7 points to 7,376 points in early dealings, the market opening on a cautious note as the proposed departure of UK from the EU comes to the fore following Parliament’s approval of Theresa May's Brexit Bill.

Among the session’s stand-out risers is building products distributor SIG (SHI), which skips 8.5% higher to 115.8p on the appointment of Brammer boss and turnaround expert Meinie Oldersma as its new CEO.

News of fresh leadership cushions the blow of disappointing full year results, underlying pre-tax profits down 12.5% to £77.5m and the dividend cut to 3.66p (2015: 4.6p) as SIG needs to pay down debt.

Low-cost gym operator The Gym Group (GYM) gains 7.5% at 190p on full year results showing a swing into profit. Investors also like news of an encouraging start to 2017, January and February showing record membership levels, with 2017 new gym openings expected to be ‘towards the top end’ of the 15-20 site guidance.

Litigation finance provider Burford Capital (BUR:AIM) bounces another 22.5p higher to 757.5p after reporting a seventh consecutive year of significant double digit growth, capped off by the acquisition of Gerchen Keller Capital, which added $1.3bn of new assets under management.

Energy services business Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) advances another 10.9% to 542.5p, investors chasing the shares higher following yesterday’s receipt of an all-share takeover offer from Wood Group (WG.).

Also in demand is Bovis Homes (BVS), bid up another 8.1% to 895p following unsolicited merger offers from rivals Galliford Try (GFRD) and Redrow (RDW).

Online supermarket Ocado (OCDO) ripens up 1.8% to 262.6p on first quarter results. These reveal 16.7% growth in average orders per week to 252,000 and a moderation in the decline in average order size, down 1.6% to £110.84. CEO Tim Steiner also hints that the price deflation that has characterised the sector could be coming to an end as a result of sterling weakness.

Fashion retailer French Connection (FCCN) firms 0.25p to 36.25p on improved full year losses of £3.7m (2016: 4.7m loss). French Connection also reports a strong performance for its Spring 17 range in the first six weeks of the new financial year.

First Derivatives (FDP:AIM) improves 4.6% to £26.80 after inking a collaboration deal with Airbus. The agreement will explore commercial opportunities arising from the processing and analysis of Airbus’ satellite imagery assets using First Derivatives’ Kx technology.

Flat panel antennas maker MTI Wireless Edge (MWE:AIM) sparks up 4.7% to 22.5p on news of a significant orderbook increase for 2017.

Data erasing business Blancco Technology (BLTG:AIM) tumbles 10.1% to 262.5p, despite delivering half year results broadly in-line with estimates, as recently appointed numbers man Keith Butcher resigns ‘with immediate effect’.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 14 Mar 2017