London’s FTSE 100 traded 0.3% lower at 7,214.80 points by midday on Monday, extending its earlier losses, as investors reacted to weak Chinese growth announced overnight.

China’s gross domestic product grew at a relatively measly 4.9% in the September quarter amid supply bottlenecks and property developer Evergrande’s woes.

Moreover, property construction in China continued its decline and factory output recorded its weakest figure since March 2020.

MARKET NEWS

Sydney based gaming machine maker Aristocrat Leisure is acquiring British gambling software manufacturer Playtech (PTEC) after making a £2.1 billion cash offer.

This equates to a 680p a share, a 58% premium to Friday’s closing price. Shares were marked 57% higher to 673.5p.

THG (THG) rose 10% to 318.2p after the group announced that it would remove its founders golden share and seek a listing on the premium segment of the stock market.

Supermarket leviathan Tesco (TSCO) has started its £500 million share buyback that was initially announced on October 6th. The market responded positively to the news and the shares edged 1% higher to 270.4p.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) recommended that shareholders of its American depositary shares reject a ‘mini-tender’ offer from TRC Capital Investment as the offer price was below the market price.

TRC Capital's offer price of $57.88 per ADS in cash is 4.5% less than the closing price per share on October 8, 2021, the last trading day before the mini-tender offer commenced. The market was uninspired by the news, sending AstraZeneca’s shares 0.9% lower to £87.17.

Shares in bus and train business Stagecoach (SGC) fell 4% to 78.95p after revealing it had given rival National Express (NEX) more time to make a formal takeover bid following a £445 million proposal made last month.

Initially National Express was supposed to either make a firm offer or walk away by 19 October. The deadline has been extended to 5pm on 16 November.

Investment manager Schroders (SDR) drifted 0.5% lower to £35.82 despite announcing that its assets under management had risen 2.4% in the third quarter of 2021, compared to the second. Assets under management at 30 September were £716.9 billion, up from £700.4 billion at 30 June.

Real estate investment trust LondonMetric Property (LMP) said it had acquired two last-mile logistics assets in Fulham and Tottenham for a combined £20.2 million.

The assets build on its Brent Cross and Streatham logistics acquisitions made earlier this year. LondonMetric said it would refurbish both properties at a cost of £1.4 million which, once fully let, was expected to deliver a blended yield on cost of 4.5%. Shares edged 0.24% higher to 254.8p.

SMALL CAP WRAP

Shares in fast-moving consumer products maker Supreme (SUP:AIM) improved 7.7% to 195p as investors applauded a positive first half trading update from the batteries, vaping and vitamins supplier.

Margins have proved ‘particularly strong’, enabling the Manchester-headquartered group to generate ‘significant’ year-on-year growth in profitability, while the in-house manufacture of key products has shielded Supreme from the supply chain problems impacting the world economy.

IT services and communications solutions group CloudCoCo (CLCO:AIM) said it expected revenue to ‘marginally exceed’ that of last year and core earnings to meet market expectations for the full-year, sending the shares up 3.3% to 1.6p.

Shares in internet platform company CentralNic (CNIC:AIM) surged 9.2% higher to 124.5p after it upgraded its outlook on performance amid ongoing momentum during the nine months through September.

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Issue Date: 18 Oct 2021