- Rallying oil prices and stronger commodities boosted Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB), BP (BP.) and several miners into the top blue-chip performers.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil rose 0.9% to $51.51 and $54.66 per barrel, respectively.

Gold fell 0.3% to $1,251 per ounce and copper climbed 1.3% to $5,820 oer tonne.

Antofagasta (ANTO) and BHP Billiton (BLT) jumped by approximately 2%, while Rio Tinto (RIO) made smaller gains of 1%.

Oil and FTSE heavyweights Shell and BP rose 1.2% and 0.9% respectively and helped to offset weakness in housebuilders.

The blue-chip index was 0.1% higher at 7,329.

The services sector experienced its strongest rise in activity in 2017 so far, thanks to growth in business activity and new work. The Purchasing Managers' index jumped from 53.3 in February to 55 in March.


On Wall Street, the markets began to recover on Tuesday as investors continued to be cautious ahead of US President Donald Trump's upcoming meeting with Chinese Present Xi Jinping.

This was also the focus in Asia as investors brushed off concerns following North Korea's test-firing of a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.

Shanghai's SSE Composite rallied 1.5% on Wednesday, while indexes in Japan and Hong Kong made smaller advances.


DCC (DCC) announced that DCC Energy agreed with Shell Gas Holdings BV to acquire its liquefied petroleum gas business in Hong Kong and Macau based on an enterprise value of HK$1.165bn (£120m). The stock advanced 1% to £70.95.

Medical products group ConvaTec (CTEC) announced the US launch of its Foam Lite dressing, a, flexible silicone foam dressing to manage low to non-exuding chronic and acute wounds. The stock was stable at 277.9p.


The UK's leading retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone (MCS) nudged 1% lower to 183p after its first-half pre-tax profit fell 25% amid trading constrained by a lower forward order book. Management blamed uncertainty following the Brexit vote for the disappointing results.

Housebuilder Bovis Homes (BVS) walked away from merger talks with Galliford Try (GFRD) and appointed ex-Galliford boss Greg Fitzgerald as its new chief executive. Bovis gained 4.7% to 886.5p and Galliford was up 0.6% to £14.71.


London housebuilder Telford Homes (TEF) was more positive than its peers in a pre-close trading update which said it expected record revenue and profit for the year to 31 March, ahead of expectations. The stock was marked 1.5% up at 365.2p.

Chinese medicine manufacturer Taihua (TAIH) reported it wants a general meeting to seek shareholder approval to cancel its listing on AIM and to re-register the company as a private firm. Over two-fifths of its value was wiped off, which left the shares stagnant at 1.5p.

Equipment rental business HSS Hire (HSS) reversed 7.4% to 62.2p as its adjusted pre-tax profit was flat at £5.8m. Management said it was a year of significant operational change and investment to ensure sustainable profit growth.

Bowling alley operator Hollywood Bowl (BOWL) swung 1.3% higher to 168.2p as first half revenue was up 7.8% and like-for-like growth of 1.2%. This was despite a 2% decline to the like-for-like figure from the timing of Easter.

Real Good Food (RGD) acquired an 84.3% stake in Brighter Foods for up to £9m, on a cash and debt free basis. The deal was expected to be immediately earnings enhancing to the group. Investors recognised the value of the deal as the stock jumped 20% to 30p.

Commercialisation of technology play Allied Minds (ALM) said it would be undertaking a restructuring, reallocating capital and management resources across the portfolio and pipeline to accelerate commercialisation. It would result in discontinued funding for seven subsidiaries, triggering a drop of 17% to 216.3p.

Life sciences group Abzena (ABZA) announced it would raise £25m in an accelerated bookbuild placing to expand further its service offering, capacity and capabilities.

Styles & Wood (STY) warned after a review of its full year performance that the directors expect reported revenues to be approximately 9% below that for full year 2015.

Miner Firestone Diamonds (FDI), sparked 12.3% to 50.2p following the recovery of its largest diamond to date, which was a 110 carat gem-quality light yellow diamond, at its Liqhobong diamond mine.

Hydrocarbons producer Premier Oil (PMO) announced the $65m sale of its non-core Pakistan assets. The cash injection should help to reduce the pressure on a strained balance sheet.

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