StockMarketWire.com - FTSE indices tacked higher in early deals with a basket of sectors providing cue. Several pharmas were among gainers, accompanied by a smattering of financial and retail outfits. Wall St and Asian markets advanced overnight, with traders looking to the US Federal Budget Balance tonight at 7pm.

Shortly after the open, FTSE 100 was up 18.72 points, or 0.27%, to 7034.08. FTSE 250 was up 58.01, or 0.33%, to 17,773.6. At 8.36am, WTI crude was down 0.16% to $50.71/bbl. Brent was up 0.16% to $56.66/bbl. Comfort was taken from Greece making a 459m euros payment to the IMF, but Yemen fighting and Iran nuclear talks remain concerns.

Shire (SHP) led blue chips up with a 4.2% rise to 5647.5p, presumably on the US FDA's promise of a fast review for its new eye drug. Glaxosmithkline (GSK) added 0.96% to 1627p. Smith & Nephew (SN.) gained 0.72% to 1187.5p. Broader retail-sector stocks gained, too. Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) added 1.03% to 6063p, followed by Tesco (TSCO), Burberry (BRBY) and others.

Financial stocks contributed to the positive bias, but were generally well off the tepid pace. ICAP (IAP) rose 0.91% to 555.5p and Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) added 0.83% to 1222p. Insurers followed Aviva's (AV.) hike of 0.82% to 554.5p. Oil majors were unremarkable and broadly clustered a tickle either side of their starting-off marks.

Vedanta (VED), up 0.32% to 540.75p, reported FY oil and gas production was lower due to the planned maintenance shutdown in Q2. Average daily gross operated production for FY 2015 was 211,671 boepd, down 3% from 218,651 boepd. However, other miners softened. Anglo American (AAL) shed 1.27% to 1011p, with Kaz (KAZ), Rio (RIO) and Glencore (GLEN) trailing.

BIGGER MOVERS

Blur Group (BLUR), down 33.95% to 53.5p, has warned recognised FY revenue will be substantially lower than previously expected. It said a number of older projects, which have experienced delays, have shown a lower likelihood of completion.

Huntsworth (HNT), down 24.16% to 34.13p, has booked a FY pretax profit of £16.0m, from £20.1m. Operating profit margin before central costs fell to 15.0%, from 18.0%.

OMG (OMG), up 16.46% to 47.75p, has sold 2d3 to Insitu Inc, a subsidiary of The Boeing Company, for $25m cash. Falkland Islands Holdings (FKH), down 8.85% to 257.5p, expects a dip in FY underlying pretax profits, from record levels a year earlier.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Software Radio Technology (SRT), down 6.57% to 32p, expects to report revenues and a pretax loss in line with market expectations of £8.5m and £0.4m respectively.

Bonmarche (BON), down 5.42% to 261.5p, is satisfied with the current year's performance and anticipates the outcome will be in line with its expectations. FY like-for-like sales rose 4.0%

Hays (HAS), down 4.27% to 156.8p, expects to deliver strong FY operating profit growth, with H2 operating profits slightly ahead of H1. It reported 8% growth in LFL fees in the quarter to end-March.

Majestic Wines (MJW), down 4.76% to 302.63p, is to acquire Naked Wines for to £70m. The £50m cash sum is being funded by new debt facilities, plus up to £20m contingent consideration in Majestic shares. Naked Wines' CEO will take the top job in the enlarged Majestic.

Other stocks in the news included Tekcapital (TEK), VPC Specialty Lending Investments (VSL) and XP Power (XPP).



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