The FTSE 100 produced a strong return from the Christmas break, on a day full of positive results. After a fast start and gaining 40 points in 30 minutes, the market gradually abated as the day progressed, but a late resurgence ensured it closed 55.2 points higher on 6245.2.
InterContinental Hotels was amongst the leading performers, as bid speculation pushed share prices to a record high. Following a 4.8% increase on Friday, the world's largest hotelier gained a further 2.8% and 35p on Wednesday to close on 1252p.
Meanwhile, Diageo and Scottish & Newcastle benefited from Christmas and New Year trading optimism. Diageo closed on 1005.5p, an increase of 21.5p, whilst Scottish & Newcastle gained 7p on 563.p.
Elsewhere, shares in fellow brewer SABMiller prospered following speculation concerning the proposed acquisition of an Indian spirits producer, closing 19p higher on 1185p.
Bronwyn Huddleston is portfolio manager at Barclays Wealth.