- UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday after Royal Dutch Shell brightened the mood by pledging to increase returns to shareholders, citing a better global economic outlook.

At 0821, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 40.86 points, or 0.6%, at 7,141.74.

Oil giant Shell climbed 3.0% to £15.036 on announcing that it would increase shareholder distributions to 20-30% of cash flow from operations, starting at its second-quarter results announcement.

The good news was infectious: Rival oil giant BP rose 1.9% to 316.65p.

Elsewhere, measurement specialist Renishaw added 0.2% to £50.8606, even as it ended a formal sales process, having not received satisfactory offers.

Renishaw, which also upgraded its guidance, said it had carefully reviewed 'a number of proposals' with its advisers and concluded that none would satisfactorily meet the interests of stakeholders.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon rose 0.4% to £12.44 despite reaffirming that it expected to post a full-year loss.

'Spoons' reported a 15% drop in like-for-like sales from 17 May to 4 July, compared with pre-pandemic sales in fiscal 2019, but investors are hoping for a recovery now that Covid restrictions are ending.

Recruitment firm Page gained 4.3% to 600p, having upgraded its annual guidance after its second-quarter gross profit jumped 86%, or 94% in constant currency, amid an easing of lockdowns.

For the full year, Page now expects to notch an operating profit of £125 million-to-£135 million.

House builder Redrow rallied 5.2% to 662.41p as it upgraded its annual revenue and margin guidance, thanks to a recovery in sales rates and home completions.

Redrow's revenue for the year to 27 June was now expected at around £1.94 billion, up from £1.34 billion year-on-year, but down from £2.11 billion in 2019.

Fellow home builder Vistry climbed 1.1% to £12.2596 on announcing that it was confident of delivering on market expectations for its annual profits this year and next.

Vistry's average weekly private sales rate had risen 10% year-on-year in the six moths through June to 0.76, while home completions had jumped to 3,126, up from 1,235.

Iron-ore miner Ferrexpo firmed 2.2% to 430.8p on reporting a 2% year-on-year increase in second-quarter production after upgrade work boosted output.

Ferrexpo also announced that it had appointed Nikolay Kladiev, who joined the company in 2005, as its chief financial officer.

Commercial vehicle hire and accident support group Redde Northgate advanced 2.0% to 409p, having posted a jump in annual profit underpinned by a full-year contribution from Redde following the merger with Northgate.

Redde Northgate hiked its dividend 18% to 15.4p per share.

Plastic products Essentra rose 1.4% to 297p after it reported a 14% year-on-year rise in second-quarter revenue.

Essentra added that it would hike prices in the second half to offset rising input costs.

Concrete levelling technology group Somero Enterprises jumped 8.1% to 470p, having upgraded its annual profit guidance following stronger-than-expected trading in the US.

Somero was now expecting revenue for the 2021 calendar year of around $110.0 million and adjusted earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation of $35.0 million.

Bowling alley group Ten Entertainment added 0.8% to 248p on announcing that it had returned to profit and cash generation following an end to lockdowns.

The company said all 46 of its centres across the UK reopened safely on 17 May with over 650,000 visits. Story provided by