- The FTSE 100 was up more than 1% by lunchtime as some positive corporate news and hopes of progress from the recently concluded trade talks between the US and China buoyed equities.

US futures are also pointing to a higher open after the Dow Jones Industrial Average achieved its first three-day winning streak since November 2018 on Tuesday.


Supermarket giant Sainsbury's pared earlier losses to be 2.2% higher at 272.3p after it posted a fall in third-quarter sales, amid fierce competition with discount rivals over Christmas.

Home builder Taylor Wimpey gained 6.3% to 149.3p on revealing that it had completed more homes in 2018, while average selling prices rose.

Bakery chain Greggs puffed 7.2% higher to £14.66 after it nudged up its annual profit guidance, owing to strong sales of savoury mince pies, hot drinks and breakfast offerings in the closing weeks of the year.

IT infrastructure group Softcat leapt 19.8% to 705.7p on announcing that it was trading 'materially' ahead of its expectations.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker smartened up by 11% to £17.92 thanks to higher Christmas sales, though it noted that trading conditions continued to be challenging.


Footwear retailer Shoe Zone rallied 10% to 197.5p after it posted an 18% rise in annual profit and declared a special dividend, as new 'big box' store offerings assisted sales.

Ailing baby goods retailer Mothercare gained 2.7% to 15.9p, despite posting substantially lower quarterly sales, as its store-closure plan progresses ahead of schedule.

Topps Tiles also forged a 1.3% advance to 64.5p, despite announcing that its sales had slipped in the first quarter amid a 'challenging market backdrop' and tough on-year comparatives.

Wine retailer Majestic Wine added 2% to 255.1p as it boosted sales and margins during the Christmas trading period, which typically accounts for around 30% of its annual sales.

Sports nutrition company Science in Sport found 5.6% to 56.5p as it forecast a 37% rise in annual sales, partly owing to its acquisition of PhD Nutrition.

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