Plumbing firm Wolseley leads FTSE higher

Traders in London Image copyright AFP

(Close): Shares in plumbing goods supplier Wolseley bolstered the market, ending the day 5.57% higher after the company reported a big rise in profits.

Group trading profit rose 25% to £515m for the six months to 31 January.

Wolseley also said it was changing its name to Ferguson, which is its main US brand. The group makes about 84% of its profit in the US.

Wolseley was the biggest riser in the FTSE 100, with the share index closing up 50 points at 7,343.42.

Shares in Tesco finished 1.25% ahead at 191.20p. The supermarket giant announced on Tuesday that its subsidiary, Tesco Stores Ltd, had in principle struck a deferred prosecution agreement with the Serious Fraud Office over its 2014 accounting scandal.

The agreement - which still requires approval by the High Court - only covers Tesco Stores and does not address whether liability of any sort applies to the larger international group Tesco PLC or any of its employees.

Tesco is paying a £129m fine and will also pay £85m in compensation to shareholders.

Separately, one of Tesco's biggest shareholders has warned that the retailer is paying too much for its planned takeover of wholesaler Booker.

Schroders fund manager Nick Kirrage told the BBC that Tesco was paying a "premium" and he had "major concerns" about the deal.

On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.35% against the dollar at $1.2514, and 0.28% down against the euro at 1.1528 euros.