Belfast Telegraph

LSE takeover offer shoots London markets higher

The FTSE 100 closed 70.08 points higher at 7,338.03 at the end of trading on Wednesday.

A bid for the London Stock Exchange Group buoyed the London markets (Nick Ansell/PA)
A bid for the London Stock Exchange Group buoyed the London markets (Nick Ansell/PA)

By PA City Staff

The London markets surged higher on the back of news that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing tabled a £31.6 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange Group.

The FTSE 100 closed 70.08 points higher at 7,338.03 at the end of trading on Wednesday.

The FTSE surpassed its, also positive, European peers after it was boosted by the takeover offer which will disrupt the UK firm’s tie-up with Refinitiv.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Reports of a takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange by its Hong Kong counterpart helped the FTSE best its peers on Wednesday.

“At its peak jumping 15%, before settling for a slightly less impressive 6% increase, the LSE provided the main thrust of the UK index’s afternoon gains.”

In the deal, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) proposed to pay around £83.61 a share – which values the LSE at about £29.6 billion, or £31.6 billion including debt.

But HKEX said the potential offer is dependent on LSE’s planned 27 billion US dollars (£21.9 billion) deal to buy data provider Refinitiv being scrapped.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: “Investors are taking a long, cold look at this one and don’t think it has much chance of success. In fact, I’d say it’s a non-starter.”

Nevertheless, shares in LSE closed substantially higher, ending the day up 402p at 7,206p.

Although the London markets outshone their European counterparts, it was still a positive trading day across the Channel.

Europe’s biggest markets closed higher as the Eurozone anticipates that Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, will usher in a new round of financial stimulus.

The German Dax increased by 0.74% while the French Cac moved 0.44% higher.

The Dow Jones opened slightly higher as traders were mildly optimistic that the trade war with China is starting to cool.

Meanwhile, Sterling had a mixed session, as fears remained that the UK could leave the EU without a deal.

The pound was 0.23 % down versus the US dollar at 1.235, and up 0.2% against the euro at 1.120.

In stocks, Galliford Try shares closed higher despite it posting a 27% fall in profits after losses widened in its construction arm.

The builder reported sliding profits a day after it revealed revived talks to sell its house-building business to Bovis Homes.

Shares in the business were up 15.65p to 679.65p at the end of trading.

Shares in Crest Nicholson moved higher after it named Iain Ferguson as its new chairman to replace Stephen Stone when he steps down next month amid a clean sweep at the top of the housebuilding giant.

Mr Ferguson joins as non-executive chairman-designate on September 16 and will take over from Mr Stone on November 1.

Shares in the building firm closed up 14.2p at 383.8p on Wednesday.

The price of oil was volatile after US oil stockpiles fell more sharply than analysts expected. The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil slumped by 2.3% to 61.26 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were London Stock Exchange, up 402p at 7,206p, Evraz, up 22p at 523.4p, Persimmon, up 78.5p, and British Land, up 21.4p at 553.6p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Antofagasta, down 26.4p at 893.2p, Informa, down 8.2p at 826.6p, Royal Dutch Shell A, down 22p at 2,305.5p, and Intertek, down 38p at 5,398p.

PA

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