The FTSE 100 opens 0.6% higher to 6,872.31 points on Thursday following hints that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates this year.
An improving jobs market is driving confidence at the US’ central bank.
In company news, a 2.4% rise in the price of oil to $45.34 draws investors to blue chip commodity stocks. BHP Billiton (BLT) leads the gainers by improving 4.5% to £10.98, followed by silver producer Fresnillo (FRES), which trades 3.6% higher at £17.74.
In the FTSE 250, meeting expectations sends construction group Kier (KIE) 2.5% higher to £13.12.
Revenues improved 26% to £4.2 billion in the 12 months to 30 June, while operating profits jumped 44% to £150 million as the group focused on growing markets, such as housing and infrastructure. Management is confident of achieving double-digit growth in each year to 2020.
Pub landlord Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) advances 2.1% to 270.7p, despite sales falling 0.8% in the 51 weeks to 17 September.
Rising wages and investment in the business have blunted margins, but that investment and better weather has driven revenues in the final eight weeks of the period, which climbed 1.8% year-on-year, giving confidence of better performance ahead.
Meanwhile, life insurer Hansard Global (HSD) cheapens 12.5% to 122.5p as lower fee income sees pre-tax profits slide to £14.9 million from £8.4 million. This is partly the result of the European division being closed to new business and adopting new accountancy practises.
Plans to sell the Kurt Salmon retail and consumer goods business makes Management Consulting (MMC) the largest riser in early trading. Shares jump 38.2% to 23.2p on an agreement to sell the division for £127 million, which is almost 50% greater than Management’s £85 million market cap.
Elsewhere, driver monitoring systems specialist Seeing Machines (SEE) jumps 20.7% to 4.4p after completing the first phase of the FOVIO hardware chip’s development. The lower cost chip could be used in driverless cars by 2018.
The angling products purveyor warns full-year profits will disappoint following a quieter July and August and an increase in costs to grow the business.
Finally, investors raise a glass to premium drinks brands owner Distil (DIS:AIM), bid up 9.8% to 1.4p on news yet another major supermarket has listed the micro cap’s RedLeg Spiced Rum and Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin tipples for its stores and online. For more on Distil, read our recent article here.