Market report: FTSE in positive end of year mood

The FTSE has so far managed to keep its chin up on the final day of trading in 2017. At 9am the blue chip index traded 10 points higher at 7,632.

Topping the leader board was Vectura (VEC), extending yesterday's rally amid vague bid rumours. Today it moved another 3.6% higher to 125.85p.

Among the mid and large caps, Wizz Air (WIZZ) signed an agreement to buy 146 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft. They will be used to replace existing fleet and also to facilitate expansion plans and deliver growth over the next decade.

The current list price for the 146 aircraft is in excess of $17.2bn. Wizz Air said it had been granted 'significant discounts' by Airbus. Given the size of the deal, shareholders will be called to vote on the investment at a general meeting to be held in due course.

Balfour Beatty (BBY) sold an additional 7.5% stake in Connect Plus, the company which operates the M25 orbital motorway following the sale of a 12.5% stake on 21 December.

The sale is for a cash consideration of £62m and the expected profit on disposal on this transaction is £32m. The proceeds will be used to pay down borrowings in 2018.

It said as a result of the last two Connect Plus transactions that pre-tax profit and year end net cash expectations for 2017 were above those included in the trading update on 12 December. That didn't stop its shares slipping 0.8% to 290.4p.

In small cap territory, Eqtec (EQT:AIM) jumped 32% to 3.5p as investors digested yesterday's announcement regarding the purchase of an engineering business specialising in power plants.

Internet of Things investment company Tern (TERN:AIM) advanced 17.7% to 2.5p after confirming it would issue 15,714,285 shares at 1.75p each pursuant to the conversion of £275,000 of the loan note announced on 30 November 2017. This represents the final conversion of the remaining loan note.

The funds raised will be used to provide a loan to investee business DA and help build Tern's pipeline of investment opportunities.

Shares in Windar Photonics (WPHO:AIM) moved 11.1% higher to 95p after it received an order for five WindVision LiDAR systems from an existing Chinese distribution partner for delivery 'as soon as possible'. The end customers are two wind turbine original equipment manufacturers.

Windar also announced that chairman John P. Weston had stepped down from his role and from the board. He has been replaced by Johan Blach Petersen who will act as chairman on an interim basis.

Sula Iron & Gold (SULA:AIM) confirmed it would change its name to African Battery Metals in the New Year. It also bought back 532.4m shares for cancellation, sending its share price up 8.3% to 0.07p.

One of the worst performing stocks was Zanaga Iron Ore (ZIOC:AIM) which fell 13.8% to 10.88p after flagging delays to a comprehensive project update.

Lansdowne Oil & Gas (LOGP:AIM) gave up some of yesterday's 100%+ gains, slipping back 12.2% to 1.62p.

Investors were unimpressed with half year results from Premaitha Health (NIPT:AIM), sending its stock down 7.3% to 4.75p. The molecular diagnostics group reported 87% increase in half year revenue to £2.7m. Yet it incurred a £4.7m operating loss (2016: £3.5m), higher as a result of a £1.3m charge to increase litigation provision.

Premaitha is trying to commercialise its non-invasive prenatal testing technology. Test volumes doubled to more than 22,000, it said. It is hoping to achieve positive pre-litigation cash flows by the 31 March 2018 financial year end.