Belfast Telegraph

Worldpay charges ahead after US suitors launch early-stage takeover moves

Payments processor Worldpay charged ahead on Tuesday after two US suitors launched early-stage takeover approaches.

Shares in the company jumped 27% as investors reacted to news that American rival Vantiv and Wall Street banking giant JPMorgan Chase had made separate offers for the firm.

Worldpay closed up 88.5p to 408p on the London market, bolstering its market value to £8.2 billion, while the wider FTSE 100 Index slipped by 19.86 points to 7,357.23.

Blue-chip housebuilders were also pushing higher after taking cheer from the latest economic update on the construction industry.

While activity for the sector came in short of expectations, firms were encouraged that the industry had continued to grow.

The closely-watched Markit/CIPS UK Construction purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 54.8 in June, down from 56 in May and shy of the 55 economists had expected. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Charles Church-owner Persimmon climbed 25p to 2,291p and Barratt Developments rose 5p to 566.5p.

However, the UK currency took a dim view of the construction sector's performance, with the pound drifting 0.1% lower against the US dollar at 1.292 and sitting flat versus the euro at 1.138.

Across Europe, Germany's Dax fell 0.3% and the Cac 40 in France slipped by 0.4%.

On the oil markets, Brent crude edged 0.1% higher to 49.72 US dollars a barrel, as traders reacted to signs that the drop in US production had started to slow.

In UK stocks, Sainsbury was in positive territory after hailing its best supermarket sales for years thanks to a revamp of its ranges and deals on popular summer food such as British strawberries.

The supermarket giant rose 0.7p to 249.6p, with like-for-like retail sales including the recently-bought Argos chain rising 2.3% in its first quarter as it launched 430 new or improved food products.

Sales were boosted by rising inflation, as well as the later timing of Easter and Mother's Day, but the group said it also rung up a 1.9% rise in the number of transactions at its tills.

The sales hike came as a marked bounce back on the 0.3% growth seen the previous quarter as Sainsbury's cheered a rebound in total grocery sales, which leapt 3% higher.

Away from the top tier, British chip maker Imagination Technologies saw its value surge after swinging back into profit.

The firm rose 13.5p to 157p after posting a £2.4 million pre-tax profit in the year to April 30, which compares with a £29.4 million loss in 2016.

Imagination, which put itself up for sale last month, said it remained locked in talks with potential buyers.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Worldpay up 88.5p to 408p, Randgold Resources up 135p to 6,850p, Kingfisher up 3.7p to 308.5p, Fresnillo up 17p to 1,483p.

The biggest fallers were Provident Financial down 47p to 2,321p, Smith & Nephew down 25p to 1,307p, ConvaTec Group down 5.8p to 313.7p, BAE Systems down 8p to 623.5p.

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