- Investors remained upbeat ahead of tomorrow's Budget with the positive sentiment partially driven by a strong performance in the US.

Imperial Brands (IMB) was among the biggest blue chip risers, up 3.4% at £31.30 while British American Tobacco (BATS) was 1.8% higher to £50.91.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.3% higher at 7,411.

Brent crude oil was up 0.4% at $62.49 per barrel and copper climbed 0.9% to $3.12 per pound.


On Wall Street, investor appetite for technology companies helped the Nasdaq rally 1% to 6,858 around 4:46pm UK time.

On the S&P 500, soup maker Campbell's slumped 7.6% following a cut in its full year forecasts, but this failed to knock the index off course, which traded 0.6% higher at 2,598.


Low-cost airline EasyJet (EZJ) impressed the market with news that revenue per seat growth is expected to be positive by 'low to mid-single digits' in the first half, driven by some capacity leaving the market. This overshadowed a 17.3% drop in headline pre-tax profit to £408m in the year to 30 September as the shares flew 5.1% higher to £13.43.

Entertainment One (ETO) was in the spotlight thanks to a surge in merchandise sales for children's cartoon PJ Masks, which boosted earnings by over a third in the half year to 30 September. Shares in the TV business were up 6.4% at 310.1p.

B&Q owner Kingfisher (KGF) struggled with sales in its French division, which were down 0.5% in the third quarter. The stock ticked 1.2% up to 308.1p on the news.

Online retailer AO World (AO.) trimmed its annual guidance as higher sales were outweighed by increased expansion costs. This spooked the market as the stock retreated 2% to 112.7p.

Power generator provider Aggreko (AGK) was among the biggest mid-cap fallers following a 15% slump in sales in its power solutions division. The company blamed the longer than expected conversion of its pipeline as the stock sharply dropped 11.1% to 862p.

Product testing firm Intertek (ITRK) revealed its resources division experienced a sales drop of 4% to $12.4m year-on-year. Investors focused on the negatives instead of a 9.8% jump in overall sales to £2.3bn in the first ten months of 2017, causing the shares to fall 4.2% to £51.75.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JMAT) said operating profit was down 2% due to costs from its restructuring programme. Shares in the firm cheapened 3.4% to £31.58.

Home repairs business Homeserve (HSV) advanced 3.1% to 831.3p on a 12% rise in statutory operating profit to £27.5m year-on-year and 16% increase in sales to £366m.

Specialist construction products supplier SIG (SHI) rallied 5.9% to 169.1p on a 4.6% increase in sales between July and the end of October.

Utility supplier Telecom Plus (TEP) unveiled strong results in the six months to 30 September as adjusted pre-tax profit jumped 6% to £25.7m. Investors marked the stock 4.6% higher to £12.13.

Melrose Industries (MRO) encountered issues with some of its acquisitions, prompting the shares to reverse 5% to 204.5p. The company's strategy depends on improving underperforming firms that it acquires.


Pub operator Ei Group (EIG) fizzed 7.6% higher to 138p thanks to a 5% increase in net asset value, supported by good income growth, asset appreciation and cash generation.

Gaming group Webis (WEB) levelled up after delivering a small profit in the year to 31 May, up from a loss of $1.2m in 2016. Shares in firm catapulted 29.6% higher to 1.5p.

Staffing specialist Empresaria (EMR) said pre-tax profit was expected to be below current market expectations, prompting the stock to plummet 20.8% to 101p.

Shares in engineering business Severfield (SFR) advanced 12.4% to 72.5p on an impressive 49% rise in underlying profit to £12.9m in the half year to 30 September.

Support services firm VP (VP.) boosted profit before tax and amortisation by 13% to £21.2m, helping the stock gain momentum, up 5.4% to 925p.

Story provided by