StockMarketWire.com - Ahead of the key US Federal Reserve meeting later on Wednesday the FTSE 100 had recovered strongly by the close to trade firmly above the 7,000 mark.

The move higher came as concerns about the fate of giant Chinese property developer Evergrande eased.

Trading in Wall Street also started out on the front foot, with the S&P 500 gaining 1% to 4,398.64 by 4.30pm UK time.

Sports-betting group Entain jumped 5.8% to £23.92 on news that the Ladbrokes and Coral owner had received a sweetened £16.4 billion cash-and-shares bid from US rival Draftkings.

DraftKings was offering £28.00 per share, up from a previous offer of £25.00.

Entain said it would 'carefully consider' the fresh proposal.

Going in the opposite direction was consumer goods group PZ Cussons, which sank 4.3% to 220.5p, having swung to a full-year loss owing to the disposal of Nigerian dairy business Nutricima.

PZ Cussons's underlying profit rose 11% and it lifted its dividend 5% to 6.09p per share.

The company, however, said its revenue in the first quarter of the new financial year had slipped 9% as demand for hygiene products wanes post lockdowns.

Cruise company Carnival added 0.5% to £15.598 even after it extended pauses on cruise vacations in Australia and New Zealand, where an outbreak of the Delta coronavirus variant has sparked lockdowns.

Over-50s services group Saga reversed earlier losses to trade 0.7% higher at 354p after it swung to a modest first-half profit, thanks to gains on a property disposal.

But Saga also recorded an underlying loss as the pandemic continues to weigh on its cruise business.

Safety-equipment company Halma climbed 2.3% to £31.28 on upgrading its annual profit outlook on the back of better-than-expected first-half sales.

Halma was now expecting an adjusted pre-tax profit 'slightly ahead' of previous guidance for low double-digit percentage organic constant currency growth.

Gene and cell therapy group Oxford Biomedica rallied 9.9% to £16.24, having swung to a first-half profit after its revenue more than doubled, thanks partly to a Covid-19 vaccine agreement with AstraZeneca.

Looking forward, Oxford Biomedica said operating earnings for the second half would rise year-on-year, but be below the first half of 2021 due to higher R&D, development, administrative and bioprocessing costs.

Bowling alley operating Ten Entertainment gained 3.9% to 265p as it reported a deeper first-half loss after the pandemic lockdowns squashed sales, but upgraded its guidance as demand comes roaring back.

Ten Entertainment said sales had recovered to a record following an easing of lockdowns and as it benefits from a 'staycation' trend, with like-for-like sales in the 11 weeks since 27 June up 42%.

Cosmetics group Warpaint London fell 5.3% to 205.5p, having swung to a modest first-half profit as demand started recovering following as easing of lockdowns and more stores started stocking its products.

Warpaint's revenue jumped 36%, though gross profit margin shrank to 34.5%, down from 35.1% in the second half of 2020, amid supply-side price inflation and significant increases in freight costs.


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