The UK equity market started Monday’s trading session on a negative note, as the market digested the implications of third quarter Chinese economic growth slowing at a faster rate than had been anticipated.

In the third quarter, the Chinese economy grew by 4.9% year on year, versus an anticipated 5.2%. Moreover property construction in China continued its decline and factory output recorded its weakest figure since March 2020.

Crude oil continued its ascendancy edging 0.9% higher at $83.04, and sterling firmed by 0.48% against the dollar to 1.3743. The FTSE 100 was trading -0.25% lower at 7216.16 and the FTSE 250 was trading -0.12% lower at 22,957.54 in early trading.

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 58.2% higher at 679p.

Shares in THG (THG) rose 3.7% to 300.2p 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 0.58% higher at 269.45p in early trading.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) have 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 and shares drifted 0.64% lower to £87.39.

Shares in Bus and train business Stagecoach (SGC) fell 1.76% to 80.75p 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.

Shares in Investment manager Schroders (SDR) drifted 0.4% lower to £35.86 despite announcing that i 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 at 254.8p

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.

For the year ended 30 September 2021, revenue was expected to 'marginally exceed' the £8.0 million recorded a year earlier earnings before net finance costs, tax, depreciation, amortisation, or EBITDA, to be in excess of £700,000, up 'significantly' on the £261,000 reported in FY20 and in line with market expectations. The market marked the shares down by 3.2% to £15 on the news.

Shares in internet platform company CentralNic (CNIC:AIM) surged by 9% to 124.3p after it upgraded its outlook on performance amid ongoing momentum during the nine months through September.

'The company expects to trade comfortably at or above the upper end of market expectations for the year for both revenue and adjusted EBITDA,' the company said. Revenue was expected to rise by 66% to at least $280 million year-on-year, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation, or EBITDA, were expected to rise by 45% to at least $32 million for the nine months ending 30 September 2021.

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Issue Date: 18 Oct 2021