- UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday as investors continued to lap up improved corporate profit announcements and associated rises in dividends.

At 0816, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 27.27 points, or 0.4%, at 7.132,99.

Insurance company Legal & General added 2.4% to 270.2p after its first-half profit more than trebled to £1.4 billion, owing to strength at its retirement and investment management business.

Legal & General declared an interim dividend of 5.18p, up 5% year-on-year.

House builder Taylor Wimpey rallied 7.7% to 172.5, having swung to a £287.5 million first-half profit and upgraded its annual guidance, as construction bounces back following an easing of lockdowns.

Taylor Wimpey reinstated its interim dividend, at 4.14p per share.

Iron-ore producer Ferrexpo reversed 3.0% to 480.4p, even as it tripled its interim dividend after its first-half profit was boosted to £796.9 million by rising iron-ore prices.

Ferrexpo declared an interim dividend of 39.6c per share, though higher prices of the steelmaking ingredient have been no secret and its shares already had run up hard this year.

Bricks and concrete products group Ibstock gained 0.7% to 222.6p as it upgraded its guidance after swinging to a first-half profit on a 74% surge in revenue.

Ibstock said it now expected its adjusted earnings for calendar 2021 to be 'modestly ahead' of its previous expectations.

Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce rose 1.3% to 104.52p following news that it had agreed to sell its Bergen liquid fuel and gas engines business to Langley for €63 million, including debt.

Rolls-Royce said the sale was part of its £2 billion asset disposal programme and followed a strategic review of Bergen.

Construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall slipped 0.2% to £24.35, despite posting a large rise in first-half profit and hiking its dividend after it boosted sales and margins.

Morgan Sindall declared an interim dividend of 30p per share, up 43% year-on-year.

Online retailer The Hut Group firmed 2.5% to 594p after it acquired online beauty retailer Cult Beauty for £275 million and upgraded its annual sales guidance.

THG sales for the year through December were now expected to rise by 35-38%, to between £2.18 billion and £2.23 billion, or by 38-41% in constant currency, up from previous guidance of 30-35%.

Auto dealer Marshall Motor revved 7.5% higher to 230p, having upgraded its earnings guidance, citing higher used car prices and increased demand for both new and used vehicles.

Marshall's continuing underlying pre-tax profit for the year through December was now expected to be not less than £40.0 million, Marshall said.

Trinidad and Tobago focused oil company Trinity Exploration & Production fell 1.5% to 160.1p following the sad news that executive chairman Bruce Dingwall had died, aged 61.

Dingwall founded the company in 2005, following the acquisition of Venture Production's Trinidadian assets and became executive chairman in 2013.

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