Vodafone chatter and Melrose profits lift FTSE 100

THE LEADING share index extended its winning streak this morning, lifted by solid gains from heavyweight firms Vodafone and Melrose.

Telecoms giant Vodafone was up more than six per cent in early deals, as investors were cheered by reports that its subsidiary Verizon was considering its options with the London-listed phone company, including a full merger.

Amrit Panesar, senior trader at Accendo Markets, said morning talk on the trading floor surrounding Vodafone had been mixed.

"With a breakdown of the recent acquisition of German operator, Kabel Deutschland, we feel that profits should be taken off the table whilst uncertainty remains, with a potential buy on the dip once profit takers disperse," he added.

Engineering buyout specialist Melrose rallied 5.3 per cent, as it this morning announced a 38 per cent jump in full-year profit.

Insurer Admiral rose 5.2 per cent, on the back of its full-year results which showed a higher-than-expected 15 per cent profit hike.

Engineer Wood Group, which yesterday posted a 25 per cent jump in profit as it was spurred by a thriving oil industry, rose 2.2 per cent in early deals.

Supermarket giant Tesco made up the last of the top five FTSE risers this morning, adding two per cent.

Blue chip fallers this morning included Imperial Tobacco, which shed 2.25 per cent in early deals.

Irish building firm CRH was down 2.1 per cent, while holiday firmTui Travel fell 1.75 per cent.

UK banking shares had a good morning. HSBC rose 0.27 per cent,RBS was up 0.35 per cent, Barclays added 0.41 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group was up 0.54 per cent.