The FTSE has hit a new record high, ending the year on a happy note. The index hit 7,653 earlier this morning and at midday it was trading at 7,639 with just half an hour before the UK stock market closes early.
Topping the FTSE 100 leader board was Just Eat (JE.), up 2.6% to 779.75p, rounding off a solid year for the business including its recent promotion to the blue chip index of UK-quoted companies.
Entertainment One (ETO) and Euromoney (ERM) shared the top spot for FTSE 250 stocks, both rising by 4.6% in value.
Among the mid and large caps issuing news, 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, Internet of Things investment company Tern (TERN:AIM) advanced 23.8% to 2.63p 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.
Stamp collector Stanley Gibbons (SGI:AIM) slumped 25% to 4.12p after flagging the need to raise £5m to support the business.
Georgian Mining (GEO:AIM) advanced 17.7% to 17.5p after saying it was in final talks with its partner regarding 2018 exploration and development plans.
Shares in Windar Photonics (WPHO:AIM) moved 17% higher to 100p 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.
Zanaga Iron Ore (ZIOC:AIM) fell 13.8% to 10.88p after flagging delays to a comprehensive project update.
Provexis (PXS:AIM) dropped 10.9% to 0.49p on disappointing half year results. It reported £124,259 revenue for the six months to 30 September 2017, barely above the £123,456 it generated in the same period a year earlier. The business made a £195,227 pre-tax loss in the half year period.
The company warned that it may need to raise more cash for working capital on occasions in the future given it remains loss-making. It ended the half year period with £482,942 cash.
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). 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.