Shares in broadcaster ITV were up nearly 7% on Thursday afternoon after Liberty Global spent £481m buying a 6.4% stake in the group from BSkyB, sparking speculation that the US company could return with a bid for the whole company. While Liberty has said that the deal was "an opportunistic and attractive investment" and confirmed it will not make an offer, analysts said that an approach in the future could be possible.
Tobacco group Imperial was making gains in the aftermath of this week's deal to buy £4.2bn of brands and assets from Reynolds American and Lorillard as part of the US groups' merger. Exane BNP Paribas analysts said today: "As seemingly the only buyer in town IMT secured a low price and even had Blu e-cigs thrown in for good measure."
Meanwhile, British American Tobacco shares
were higher after the company said this week that it would be investing $4.7bn to maintain its 42% stake in Reynolds when it combines with Lorillard. The company was forced to suspend its £1.5m share buyback programme which Exane BNP Paribas said "may also hint at other ambitions".
Sportswear retailer Sports Direct beat consensus estimates with a 15% jump in annual underlying operating profits. However, the stock sank into the red as the company said that recent strong trading was offset by England's disappointing performance at the World Cup.
Electricity generator and retailer SSE forecast higher earnings in 2014/15 but shares slipped as it warned that it would be harder to lift profits again the year after.
Meanwhile, beverage cans maker Rexam was hit with a downgrade by Deutsche Bank to 'neutral' and Diageo was lower after JPMorgan Cazenove cut its rating for the drinks group to 'underweight'.
Miner Anglo American fell after underwhelming with its second-quarter production report. The firm recorded a rise in production of iron ore, copper, nickel, diamonds and export metallurgical coal but said that strikes dented platinum output during the period.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ITV (ITV) 196.30p +6.80%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,687.00p +2.17%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,748.00p +1.03%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,540.00p +0.90%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 899.50p +0.84%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 896.50p +0.73%
Meggitt (MGGT) 539.50p +0.47%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,652.00p +0.42%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 937.50p +0.37%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 326.60p +0.31%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,120.00p -3.61%
Rexam (REX) 518.00p -3.45%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 692.50p -2.94%
Fresnillo (FRES) 895.00p -2.40%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 334.20p -1.99%
Barclays (BARC) 211.70p -1.99%
Royal Mail (RMG) 470.40p -1.90%
BP (BP.) 496.95p -1.90%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,037.00p -1.89%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,535.50p -1.82%