Building materials group CRH said on Friday that it has received regulatory approval for its $3.5bn acquisition of Kansas-based cement manufacturer Ash Grove.
CRH began its 1bn share buyback programme in earnest on Wednesday, confirming it has entered into arrangements with UBS to repurchase ordinary shares on its behalf, to a maximum consideration of 350m, as the first phase of its plans.
(WebFG News) - Playtech: Deutsche Bank reiterates buy with a target price of 1,300p.
(WebFG News) - Building materials group CRH saw like-for-like sales fall 2% in the first quarter with first-half profits expected to be flat, but announced a 1bn share buyback to keep investors sweet.
BHP Billiton: Societe Generale upgrades to buy with a target price of 1,600p.
1700:Close Stocks finished the session on a strong note, with better-than-expected readings on UK and US services sectors helping to lift the mood.
Industrial stocks fared best in London, on the back of supportive comments from Goldman Sachs that gave shares of DS Smith and Smurfit Kappa a boost.
That was despite worries about trade frictions following the White House's push on steel and aluminium tariffs.
And on a related note, perhaps, Ultra Electronics led the downside after announcing the US DoJ had put the kybosh on its ERAPSCO JV with Sparton, after raising competition concerns that led Ultra and Sparton to call off their proposed tie-up.
That came amid news that US-based chip designer Qualcomm had filed a request for America's CFIUS to look into its potential acquisition by Singapore-based Broadcom and a thinly-veiled threat from the US president against European carmakers, with Trump complaining about the significant trade deficits the country was running in its trade with other countries, including Canada and Mexico.
In the background, strategists at JP Morgan sounded a positive note on European and Japanese equities, but stuck to an 'underweight' stance on UK stocks.
Irish building materials group CRH generated an acceleration in profits growth towards the end of the year and saw good potential for more in the US and Europe in 2018.
Oil equipment services stocks were higher on Thursday, as commodity and oil prices extended the prior year's run higher.