The FTSE 100 index closed roughly flat on Monday after a session dragged by weakness in its heavyweight pharmaceuticals stocks. The index finished 0.015% higher at 7,573.69 points. "Investors had to swallow a bitter pill from a barrage of broker downgrades for AstraZeneca which served to nearly knock the FTSE 100 off course," AJ Bell analyst Dan Coatsworth writes in a market comment. Commodity producers and retailers made enough progress to keep the blue-chip index's head above water, Coatsworth adds, with Burberry and Frasers each trading around 5% higher by market close. After Rolls-Royce, AstraZeneca--London's largest company by market capitalization--and GSK were the biggest fallers in the session, losing over 2% each.


SSP to Buy Australia's Airport Retail Enterprises for Undisclosed Amount

SSP said it has agreed to buy Australian airport food-and-beverage operator Airport Retail Enterprises for an undisclosed amount, and that this will be funded through existing cash and credit facilities.


Tritax Big Box Agrees to Take Over U.K. Commercial Property REIT in $1.2 Bln Deal

Tritax Big Box said it has reached an agreement to take over U.K. Commercial Property REIT in an all-share offer, valuing the company at around 924 million pounds ($1.17 billion).


Journeo Expects Performance in Line With View on Strong Organic Growth

Journeo said full-year performance is expected to be in line with market expectations, reflecting organic growth and well-performing acquired businesses.


A Mondi, DS Smith Merger Makes Sense, But the Price Must Suit Both Parties

1242 GMT - A Mondi-DS Smith merger makes strategic sense as it would create a leader in paper packaging solutions with synergies of around EUR300 million, Jefferies analyst Cole Hathorn says in a note. These would stem from vertical integration, scale and efficiencies in supply chain and administration, and complementary offerings, he says. Still the challenge is setting the right price. Mondi shareholders pushed back on anything more than GBP4 a share for DS Smith, and DS Smith shareholders don't want it to be acquired for less than the perceived intrinsic value, as shares are seen poised to be re-rated on resilient earnings delivery and higher returns, Hathorn says. Mondi shares are up 0.15% at 1,346 pence. DS Smith is up 0.6% at 318.20 pence. (


European Shares Rise on Prospect of Approaching ECB Rate Cut; U.K. Underperforms

1149 GMT - The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index rises 0.3% to 436.34, with sentiment boosted after European Central Bank official Fabio Panetta said on Saturday the time for cutting interest rates was fast approaching, according to media reports. "European equity markets appeared to like Panetta's comments," writes Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell. "Expectations that we will soon see this pivot moment have underpinned the pick-up in equity markets since late 2023 and confirmation of the first cut could give another leg-up to stocks and shares," he says. Germany's DAX rises 0.3% while France's CAC 40 is up 0.4%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 underperforms, however, falling 0.1% as rate cuts from the Bank of England are likely to come later. (


Tritax Big Box's Takeover Changes Investment Focus Once Again

1144 GMT - Tritax Big Box REIT's investors may have to get used to a significant change in the group's investment focus for the second time after the company reached an agreement to take over U.K. Commercial Property REIT, AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould says in a note. The commercial-property investor--which holds big box warehouses used for e-commerce--shifted from buying existing assets to developing its own in 2019, with the company struggling to find investments at the right price, but this acquisition suggests another change in tack, he says. The purchase should also give Tritax a more diversified portfolio of offices, shopping centers and logistics assets, as well as exposure to smaller 'last mile' logistic assets, Mould notes. Shares are down 2.75%, but up 2.4% on a 12-month basis. (


Luxury Companies With Turnaround Plans Could Benefit From Tod's Delisting Attempt

1122 GMT - Tod's delisting plan could be positive for other companies in the luxury industry that are undergoing turnarounds, Citi analysts Thomas Chauvet and Lorenzo Bracco say in a research note. The Italian luxury-footwear firm said on Sunday that its plans to delist from the Milan stock exchange and enter into a framework agreement with LVMH-backed private equity firm L Catterton for the sale of a 36% stake in the company. The news could boost speculation regarding mergers and acquisitions in the luxury sector and, in the short-term, might support turnaround stocks like Burberry and Salvatore Ferragamo, Citi says. Shares in Burberry are up 3.3% while Salvatore Ferragamo's shares trade 4.3% higher. Shares in Tod's are up 28% to EUR42.86. (


Revolution Beauty's Growth Strategy Likely to Drive Market Value

1121 GMT - Revolution Beauty has established a global distribution matrix and could now refine its operating model by removing inefficiencies and driving brand awareness, Liberum analysts say in a note. "The strategic reset under new management sets ambitious targets for growth, margin recovery and the rebuilding of trust amongst the shareholder base," they say. The strategy should more than double sales, and lead to growth of 15 times in profits by 2030, resulting in a business worth multiple times more than its current market value, they add. "It will take time to rebuild credibility with investors, but we are hopeful this begins in the second half of this year," the analysts add. Shares are down 2.6% but up nearly 50% over the past 12 months. (


SSP's Australian Acquisition Should Please Investors

1037 GMT - SSP Group's acquisition of Airport Retail Enterprises is expected to be viewed favorably by investors as it is consistent with its strategy, Jefferies analysts say in a note. The food-and-beverage company's deal should add around 3% to revenue on an annualized basis--ARE has annualized sales of around GBP100 million--and will add four new airports in Australia, where it already has a presence in seven airports and one train station, the analysts say. "Strong underlying trading and M&A upside gives us further confidence in SSP's investment case, we expect an inflection in consensus EPS estimates to trigger a rerating in due course," Jefferies says. Shares are up 1.6% at 227.80 pence. (

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-12-24 1204ET