StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 closed up 0.3% at 7,724.55 on Friday after a strong afternoon session supported by a positive open on Wall Street. The index of leading UK shares is now within touching distance of the all-time highs seen in January.

Utilities firms continued to feel the heat after negative comment from analysts at Bernstein, Severn Trent (SVT) was down 2.2% at £19.76 and United Utilities (UU.) fell 2.1% to 765.9p

OVERSEAS MARKETS

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 0.35% to 2,732.50 by around 4pm UK time. Putting it on course for its best weekly performance in two months.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Zoopla-owner ZPG (ZPG) rallied 30% to 488p on a takeover bid from Zephyr, an indirect subsidiary of funds managed by Silver Lake Management, valuing the company at £2.2bn.

Pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) was up 0.3% at £52.71 despite its severe asthma drug failing to significantly reduce exacerbations in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in a clinical trial.

British aviation company BBA Aviation (BBA) reported trading in the first four months of 2018 met expectations as sales rose 9.7% year-on-year, helping the shares nudge 1.7% higher to 335.8p.

Oil services provider John Wood (WG.) experienced good trading momentum in its first quarter, prompting investors to mark the stock 9.9% higher to 645.4p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Construction company Interserve (IRV) dropped 5.5% to 72.7p after it was referred to the Enforcement Division of the Financial Conduct Authority.

The company said it was being investigated in connection with its handling of inside information and market disclosures concerning its exited energy from waste business between mid-July 2016 to 20 February 2017.

Carpet retailer Carpetright (CPR) shed 10.6% to 35.5p after securing pricey debt financing to the tune of £17.25m ahead of a planned equity raise of £60m later in May.

Value butcher Crawshaw (CRAW) announced the appointment of Jim Viggars as CEO and Nick Taylor as chief financial officer, triggering a 32.6% rally in the shares to 6.1p.


Story provided by StockMarketWire.com