StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday, amid broader gains on European exchanges, as investors embraced the naming of Christine Lagarde as the new head of the European Central Bank.

At 0851, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 37.73 points, or 0.5%, at 7.596.92.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's shed 0.4% as its sales, excluding fuel, fell 1.2% in the first quarter, in what it called a 'tough' market.

Sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion rose 3.9% after the company said it remained on track to deliver annual headline profit before tax 'at least' equal to current consensus market expectations.

Student accommodation developer Unite gained 1.3% on news that it had agreed to acquire Liberty Living Group from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for £1.4bn.

Specialist chemicals company Synthomer also announced a big deal, shedding 0.9% on revealing that it had agreed to acquire US-based counterpart Omnova Solutions for $473m (£375m).

Services company Serco fell 1.0% after it agreed to pay a fine to the UK Serious Fraud Office of £19.2m, plus £3.7m of investigation costs, related to historical misstatements of contract earnings.

Topps Tiles added 1.2% as the flooring retailert reported a 3.8% rise in like-for-like sales in the third quarter of its financial year.

Electronics products supplier Electrocomponents fell 2.2%, despite it reported a 4% rise in like-for-like revenue growth for the first quarter. The company also warned that its first-half margins would take hit from inventory expansion.

Online estate agency Purplebricks rose 3.7%, despite it posting a deeper annual loss, as it also announced that it would exit the US market after expanding there to quickly.

Accident management support services group Redde gained 2.8% after a customer extended a contract due to expire at the end of July for an extra four months. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com