Markets: FTSE 100 rebounds on Wednesday

17:04 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) stayed firmly in the black right up until the closing bell on Wednesday, amid speculation that policymakers will look to safeguard and support the European banking sector in the face of the eurozone debt crisis.

The share index ended the day 157 points higher at 5102. Inevitably, the banks climbed in the wake of the renewed hopes, with Barclays (BARC) up 7.6% while Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) gained 5%.

The mining sector also proved popular after commodities prices rose. Vedanta Resources (VED) became the afternoon's best-performing stock after rising over 8.5%.

At a glance...

Gold: $1,621.80

WTI crude oil: $78.34

Currencies

GBP/USD: 1.5470

GBP/EUR: 1.1586

EUR/USD: 1.3352

All changes from 09:05 BST.

16:43 - After bumping along in negative territory at the open, US stocks staged a turnaround in mid-morning trading thanks to a firm upturn in the tech sector.

The Dow Jones gained 52 points to 10861, while the tech-orientated Nasdaq jumped 32 points to 2437.

The broader S&P 500 was also swept up in the renewed buying appetite and rose seven points to 1131.

16:27 - Mineral exploration company Centamin Egypt (CEY) has appointed Chris Aujard as UK company secretary and general counsel and Katharine Sutton as head of investor relations, both of whom will be based at the new company office in London.

Aujard has over 25 years' experience in a variety of sectors and geographies, including life assurer Royal London, Lloyd's of London and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander in senior legal and company secretarial positions.
 
Sutton has worked with Centamin since early 2009 as one of the company's financial public relations consultants. Prior to this, she was a broadcast journalist with the BBC for three years.
 
Chairman Josef El-Raghy said that he was "delighted" with the appointments.

16:09 - In spite of the current eurozone crisis, European investment trusts have posted the fastest annual dividend growth out of all the investment trust sectors over the past five years, with a 20.5% annual dividend increase, according to the Association of Investment Companies.

UK smaller companies is in the third spot with 11.5% dividend growth, followed by 10.5% from Asia Pacific excluding Japan and 8.6% for global growth & income.

Read: Europe posts fastest dividend growth, for more.

15:52 - Shares in specialist healthcare company BTG () soared more than 9.5% as it announced that financial performance in the first half of the year was going to be "well ahead of expectations" and upgraded full-year revenue guidance to £160-165 million, versus analyst expectations of £139.6 million.

While trading in the specialty pharmaceuticals and interventional medicine division was in line with expectations, it was the strong performance from the licensing and biotechnology business area that boosted revenues.

The company will publish its interim results on 17 November.

15:37 - Bezant Resources (BZT) has agreed to enter into an option agreement to dispose of Asean Copper Investments to Gold Fields Netherlands Services BV for $70 million (£45.3 million).

Shares in the gold and copper explorer rose 5.4% on the news. This deal, subject to shareholder approval, will result in Bezant receiving a non-refundable, upfront cash payment of $7 million (£4.5 million) with a further cash sum of $63 million payable on exercise of the option, to acquire the entire issued share capital of Asean. The option may be exercised by Gold Fields at any time until 31 January 2013.

Bezant announced that the net sale proceeds would be used to further develop the company's Eureka Project in Argentina, with the balance being returned to shareholders.

15:22 - Shares in Dominion Petroleum (DPLM) soared on Wednesday afternoon, after the firm announced it had struck a farm-out deal for Block 7, offshore Tanzania.

The AIM-listed oil and gas company has farmed out a 20% working interest in the block to a subsidiary of Mubadala Oil & Gas, leaving it with an 80% working interest and operatorship in the block.

Read: Dominion soars on farm-out deal, for the full story.

15:03 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) remained sharply higher in mid-afternoon trading, despite a poor open across the Pond.

It boasted a 101-point gain to 5045, with Xstrata (XTA) ranking among the top five performing stocks of the afternoon after gaining close to 6%.

In contrast, Immarsat (ISAT) languished at the bottom of the pile with a 5% loss.

At a glance...

Commodities

Gold: $1,616.00

WTI crude oil: $77.57

GBP/EUR: 1.1586

GBP/USD: 1.5470

EUR/USD: 1.3352

All changes from 09:05 BST.

14:49 - Wall Street got off to a rocky start on Wednesday, amid a lukewarm employment report.

US payroll processor ADP said that private companies added 91,000 jobs in September, just marginally up from the 89,000 recorded in August.

As markets awaited service sector data due out later today, the Dow Jones fell 61 points to 10747. The Nasdaq shed 19 points to 2385, while the S&P 500 suffered a seven-point drop to 1116.

14:33 - Utility service firm Telecom Plus (TEP) saw its shares rise 1.7% as it announced that the board was "comfortable" with consensus full-year market expectations for both earnings and dividends.
 
In its trading update, it demonstrated customer and service number up 15% and 20% respectively on an annualised growth rate and announced a "significant" increase in interim dividend.

The company will announce its half-year results for the six months ended September 2011 on 22 November.

14:12 - Shares in energy services company Wood Group (WG.) were trading up 3.7% as the company announced that the group's performance for the year to date was in line with expectations.

"Commodity prices have remained at favourable levels for our customers and we continue to see good momentum, despite financial market volatility," said the company.

The company will issue a full-year trading update on 15 December.

13:56 - Residential property owner Grainger (GRI) saw its shares increase more than 6% as it told investors it has signed two "significant" debt financings, which would see the total amount of debt to c £1.2 billion, resulting in the average life of the group's committed facilities being extended to 5.9 years.
 
One financing is an £840 million forward start facility (FSF), signed with five banks. The other is a new funding structure signed with Partnership Assurance, with an initial drawing of £50 million. The facility is repayable on a property-by-property basis as the assets become vacant and are sold, with interest rolling up on each property.
 
"These transactions give Grainger far greater certainty over its medium and long-term financing and are in line with our stated financing strategy," commented finance director Mark Greenwood.

13:35 - Heritage Oil (HOIL) shares rose more than 3% as it announced that it had completed testing the oil-bearing Upper Cretaceous reservoir in the Miran West-3 well in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
 
Chief executive Tony Buckingham said that he was "encouraged" by the results that showed maximum flow rate achieved from the Upper Cretaceous reservoir was 1,950 barrels per day. However, the company said that "attempts to flow the well at higher rates were severely restricted by the capacity of the surface test equipment".

Results from pressure data that had allowed the depth of the oil-water contact to be determined confirmed that development wells could produce 8,000-10,000 barrels per day per well from this reservoir.

13:14 - Gold came under renewed pressure on Wednesday, as a rising dollar and recent rally prompted profit-taking in the market.

However, despite the sharp drop over recent weeks, gold continues to be favoured by analysts.

Read: Profit-taking sees gold price slump, for more.

12:52 - Oil explorer Soco International (SIA) has spudded the first of five development wells that are expected to be completed for production start-up in August 2012.
 
The wells are part of the TGT Phase II development located in Vietnam. The company expects TGT oil output to plateau at c55,000 barrels per day and peak gas production to be c30 million cubic feet per day.

12:34 - The UK economy grew by 0.1% between April and June, less than the previous estimate of 0.2%.

The ONS said household consumption fell by 0.8% in the three-month period. In contrast, the Markit/PMI survey recorded a figure of 52.9 for September, up from 51.1 in August. Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

"Services growth remains well below past norms and the fact that confidence among services companies sank to a 30-month low in September highlights the worrying domestic and global situation facing the UK economy," said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight.

Archer also expects the economy to continue facing serious headwinds in 2012 amidst the ongoing tight fiscal policy, likely limited global growth and a possible Greek default. "Any interest rate hike has sailed off into the horizon, and is unlikely to reappear before 2013," he added, pointing out that interest rates below 0.50% "could actually do more harm than good".
 
However, he did point out that moderating inflation should gradually alleviate the squeeze on consumers and that the Olympics should provide a modest boost to the economy in the summer.

12:12 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) reaped the benefits of investor optimism during Wednesday morning as it maintained a positive course.

The blue-chip index was 114 points ahead at 5058 at midday, as mining giant Xstrata (XTA) led winning stocks. At the other end of the spectrum, technology company Inmarsat (ISAT) fell furthest.

Looking ahead to Wall Street's open, Yusuf Heusen, sales trader at IG Index, feared the last session's late gains were a dead-cat bounce. He said: "The market must face up to the challenge of trying to consolidate some of its bumper gains, whilst we also have the Challenger job cuts and ADP payroll surveys due for release."

"Certainly, any wobbles here as traders brace themselves for Friday's non-farms figures could again see another bout of selling, as so long as the eurozone concerns prevail then we're unlikely to see a bull market return. We're currently calling the Dow to open around 65 points lower."

At a glance...

Commodities

Gold: $1,604.85

WTI crude oil: $77.29

Currencies

GBP/USD: 1.5479

GBP/EUR: 1.1587

EUR/USD: 1.3360

All changes from 09:05 BST.

11:48 - Iron ore and metals explorer Baobab Resources (BAO) has unveiled encouraging results from its resource drill programme at Rouni South.

The deposit is part of the Massamba Group iron/vanadium/titanium project in Mozambique, and has returned some of the best concentrate grades so far encountered on the project.

For the full story, read: More "encouraging" drill results for Baobab Resources.

11:24 - British oil group Premier Oil (PMO) is to beef up its portfolio with the acquisition of North Sea-focused EnCore Oil () for £221 million.

In a statement on Wednesday, Premier said it had made a 70p-per-share cash offer to buy the AIM-listed company, which values it at a premium of some 55% over the closing price of 45.25p on Tuesday.

Read: Premier Oil to snap up EnCore, for more.

10:59 - Sainsbury's (SBRY) reported 7.6% (+4.3% excluding fuel) growth in the first half, along with slightly better like-for-like sales.

Excluding petrol but not VAT, Sainsbury's sales rose by 1.9% for the first six months of the financial year. Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King said: "We have delivered a good sales performance in a tough consumer environment."

For the full story, read: Tesco and Sainsbury announce rising profits.

10:36 - Pub operator and brewer Marston's (MARS) said that trading for the year ended 1 October had been "encouraging, despite the difficult trading environment".
 
By division, Marston's Inns and Taverns, the managed pubs division, saw like-for-like sales 2.9% ahead of last year. Marston's Beer Company saw own-brewed beer volumes are 2% higher than last year, outperforming an ale market down 6%, while profits in Marston's Pub Company were estimated to be 0.6% up on last year.
 
The company will announce its preliminary results on 30 November.

10:14 - AIM-listed oil and gas exploration firm Cove Energy (COV) has reported exploration and appraisal success from the Camarão well in the Rovuma Basin area 1 block, offshore Mozambique.

Cove said more than 380 net feet of natural gas pay was confirmed in both the exploration and appraisal targets.

Read: Mozambique success boosts Cove Energy, for the full story.

09:51 - Shares in SuperGroup (SGP), owner of the Superdry brand, plummeted 27% as the company announced that this year's profitability would be negatively impacted by between £6-9 million.

The business encountered some short-term issues caused a significant, temporary reduction both in the amount of stock and range of sizes reaching its UK stores as it implemented an upgrade programme to its warehouse management at its Barnwood site.

The company said that its international and wholesale operations had not been affected and that temporary warehouse facilities had been commissioned to address capacity requirements. It expects normal levels of operation in November.

09:36 - Shares in gold and silver exploration company Condor Resources (CNR) rose 6.5% on Wednesday as it told investors that the total mineral resources in the La India project now stood at 849,000 ounces gold attributable (1,046,000 ounces gold at six grams per tonne).

This was an increase from 832,000 ounces gold attributable announced in April 2008.

For more, read: Condor flying on Nicaragua update.

09:05 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) opened on the front foot on Wednesday, buoyed by a last-minute rally on Wall Street and rebounding from the 15-month closing low of its last session.

This was despite gloomy news from Europe as Italy's credit rating was downgraded by Moody's and Franco-Belgian bank Dexia became the first European bank to have to be bailed out due to the sovereign debt crisis.

London's leading share index was 60 points higher at 5004, with luxury goods company Burberry (BRBY) taking an early win. The fastest loser was financial group Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.).

Elsewhere on the corporate front, shares in supermarket giant Tesco (TSCO) drooped in initial trading, despite its results showing total sales growth of 8.8% in the half year to the end of August.

The retailer said that group sales hit £35.52 billion with revenue excluding VAT up 7.3% from last year at £31.812 billion. At constant exchange rates, sales increased by 8.2% (including petrol) and 6.7% (excluding petrol).

Once provision for payment protection insurance compensation had been taken into accont, the company's underlying pre-tax profit hit £1.922 billion, beating analyst expectations.

Read: Tesco and Sainsbury's announce rising profits, for more.

US markets...

There was a late session reprieve for Wall Street on Tuesday as stocks rebounded in the final hour of trading on the back of bank recapitalisation news from Europe.

Blue-chip industrials climbed more than 3% and the Dow Jones leapt 377 points in the last 40 minutes of trading, ending 153 points higher at 10808.

The S&P 500 was saved from bear territory, bouncing back to the tune of 24 points to end the day at 1123, while the Nasdaq advanced 68 points to 2404.

At a glance...

Asian markets

Nikkei 225: 8383 ( 73)

Hang Seng: 16250 ( 571)

Shanghai Composite: 2359 (closed on Monday and Tuesday)

Commodities

Gold: $1,626.30

WTI crude oil: $77.92

Currencies

GBP/USD: 1.5430

GBP/EUR: 1.1580

EUR/USD: 1.3176

08:00 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) opens at 4944.