FTSE 100 movers: LSE rallies on takeover offer; Shell gushes lower
London's FTSE 100 was up 0.9% at 7,335.53 in afternoon trade on Wednesday, underpinned by deal news, as concerns over Sino-US trade relations receded.
London Stock Exchange was the standout gainer after it said it will consider an "unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional" £29.6bn takeover offer from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, although analysts expressed doubts that a deal would occur.
"The board of LSEG will consider this proposal and will make a further announcement in due course," it said.
The group, which agreed last month to buy financial data and trading platform provider Refinitiv in a $27bn deal, said it "remains committed to and continues to make good progress" on the proposed acquisition.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said the bid was a non-starter.
"It's a bold move and one that appears to have a low chance of success. Given the long and ignoble history of bids for LSE we think there is a very high bar to clear in order for this to succeed. Whilst HKEX already has a foothold in the UK via its ownership of the LME, the LSE is a different ball game entirely."
Persimmon was on the front, tracking gains for fellow housebuilder Galliford Try after its final results.
Going the other way, Royal Dutch Shell slipped after a downgrade to 'hold' from 'buy' at HSBC, which recommended that investors switch to BP.
"On our estimates BP has a substantially lower free cash break-even than Shell, which translates into BP having 2020 to 2023 organic free cash yields more than 200 basis points higher. This gives it far better defensive qualities if macro conditions stay weak," the bank said.
Standard Chartered was a smidgen lower after a downgrade to 'sell' at Investec.
FTSE 100 - Risers
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 7,207.50p 5.93%
Evraz (EVR) 522.20p 4.15%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 847.80p 4.10%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,023.00p 3.66%
Fresnillo (FRES) 727.80p 3.53%
British Land Company (BLND) 549.40p 3.23%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 2,325.00p 3.10%
Halma (HLMA) 1,991.50p 3.05%
Centrica (CNA) 72.54p 2.98%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 2,030.00p 2.97%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Antofagasta (ANTO) 898.00p -2.35%
Kingfisher (KGF) 204.00p -0.73%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,307.00p -0.52%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,408.00p -0.52%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,918.99p -0.51%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,317.00p -0.45%
Informa (INF) 832.40p -0.29%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,943.50p -0.20%
Just Eat (JE.) 708.60p -0.20%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 682.00p -0.15%