UK shares take a breather in early trade on Wednesday following yesterday's stunning rally that powered the FTSE 100 back beyond the 7,000 mark for only the second time in its long history. Having closed at around 7,073, Britain's blue-chip index slips marginally back, although it remains the most modest of declines, sliding around 8 points, or 0.11%, to 7,065.
UK midcaps ease by a similar margin having closed at an all-time high 18,284 or so in trading on Wednesday.
In corporate news, Britain's biggest retailer Tesco (TSCO) sets out plans to increase its profitability in the next three years, after reporting a 60% rise in first half profit and a third straight quarter of UK underlying sales growth. That sparks an 8% hike in the share price to 203.75p, topping the Footsie leader board.
Other supermarkets also rally in response to the update, Sainsbury (SRBY) and Morrison (MRW) both around 1.5% percentage points higher on Wednesday.
Mining group Centamin (CEY) reveals that production for the full year 2016 will be at the top end of the guidance range after reporting increases during the third quarter as throughput levels remain above the company's internal targets. All of the company's production comes from the Sukari mine in Egypt. But that fails to spike interest from investors, the shares staying largely flat at 145.3p.
Hefty falls are seen in shares of Topps Tiles (TPT) as it warns of weakening trading conditions as it moves into the fourth quarter. The company says revenue for the year is anticipated to come in within the region of £215m, compared to the £212m reported a year earlier, with like-for-like revenue expected to be 4.2% ahead of the prior year, but investors are clearly fretting over future business levels, knocking the stock 8.5% back to 102p.
Barclays (BARC) claims that a group of investors in insurer Hastings (HSTG) are to sell a 7% stake in the company via a share placing. Barclays says the group of investors selling the shares comprises Hastings Investco, the group apparently agreeing to sell a total of 46.2m shares in Hastings at 216p per share, making the transaction worth around £99.8m. Hastings shares dive 3.9% to 219.5p.
Among the bigger movers, shares in mining group Premier African Minerals (PREM:AIM) jump more than 15% to 0.38p as tests reveal significant tonnage of tungsten material at its RHA project in Zimbabwe.
And pizza in Poland franchise DP Poland (DPP:AIM) is a surprise riser as investors rally behind its latest growth funding cash call. The company raises £3.2 million at 48p per share, virtually a zero-discount funding round, demonstrating the market's ongoing strong appetite for the investment story. The stock jumps 15% in early trade Wednesday to 56p.