StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 traded 0.3% higher at 7,346 as strong results from housebuilder Berkeley (BKG) and progress on Brexit spurred a rally in the sector.

Berkeley revealed pre-tax profit rose 35.8% to £533.3m and sales increased 13.7% to £1.6bn in the six months to 31 October.

Barratt Developments (BDEV), Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon (PSN) chased their peer higher by up to 4.3%.

Sterling gained positive momentum after the UK and European Union made sufficient progress in the Brexit talks to move on to negotiating trade conditions.

Construction contracted by 0.9% in the UK between July and September due to a decline in repair and maintenance, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In brighter news, UK production increased by 1.2% over the same period, driven by the largest rise in transport equipment manufacturing.

Brent crude oil gained 1% to $62.80 per barrel. Copper was up 0.3% at $2.95 per pound and gold nudged 0.4% lower to $1,244 per ounce.

MID AND LARGE RISERS AND FALLERS

Investors took the news that Vodafone's (VOD) plan to create an entity in Malta was denied by the company's competition authorities in their stride as the shares were up 0.6% at 229.3p.

Infrastructure business John Laing (JLG) announced total investment commitments of £340m, beating its full year guidance and helping the shares advance 1.9% to 272p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Filtration specialist Porvair (PRV) jumped 7.7% higher as earnings for the full year were anticipated to beat expectations.

Ramsdens (RFX) retreated 3.4% to 171.5p on news that 30.7% of its existing shares will be sold to new investors.

Investment company Vela Technologies (VELA) entered a conditional agreement to invest £200,589 to acquire a minority stake in crypto currency platform BlockchainK2, triggering a 27.7% rally to 0.7p.

Real estate investor Globalworth Real Estate Investments (GWI) raised €340m in a share placing, which it will use to fund investments in Poland and Romania.

Pharma firm Angle (AGL) received a welcome 11.1% boost to 52.8p on news that its less invasive liquid biopsy may be approved to test for breast cancer. The company said it is working for clearance of the technique by the US Food and Drug Administration by 30 June 2018.


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