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UK Money News


UPDATE 1-FTSE 100 up as tobacco shares, DS Smith rise; L&G slips on results

Wed, 6th Mar 2019 09:51


* FTSE 100 up 0.1 pct

* FTSE 250 down 0.1 pct

* Tobacco firms lead gainers on main index

* DS Smith rises on plastics unit sale

* Burberry lower after GS downgrade

* Just Eat falls on mid-caps (Adds analyst comment, graphic, updates prices)

March 6 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 inched up on Wednesday as tobacco stocks surged on U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb's departure and DS Smith rose after its plastics division sale, while Legal & General slumped after results.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent, its fourth consecutive session of gains, while the FTSE 250 was 0.1 percent lower by 0916 GMT.

British American Tobacco advanced 3.8 percent to a near four-month high and Imperial Brands rose 1.6 percent after U.S. FDA Commissioner Gottlieb, who strove to curb use of flavoured e-cigarettes, said he would step down next month.

DS Smith added 3.4 percent after an agreement to sell its plastics division to private equity firm Olympus Partners for an enterprise value of $585 million.

Dollar earners also provided some support as sterling came under pressure after talks between Prime Minister Theresa May's attorney general and European Union negotiators over concessions on Brexit ended without an agreement. An EU official said the talks did not go well.

But much like its European counterpart, movement on the FTSE 100 was minimal as investors waited for updates on key events including U.S.-China trade talks as well as Brexit.

"While we got an initial push higher in the wake of the news that a US, China trade deal was within reach, the fact is markets have been rallying for most of this year in anticipation of just such an outcome, begging the question as to how much more is there in this particular tank," CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.

Luxury clothing company Burberry offset gains on the main bourse, falling 3.3 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "sell" from "neutral".

Life insurer Legal & General gave up more than 4 percent and was on course for its worst day this year after its 2018 results, with Jefferies analysts pointing to a "bulky margin miss".

Online takeaway service Just Eat dropped 3 percent on the mid-cap index despite posting higher 2018 results and forecasting improved margins for the current year.

"Questions remain over (Just Eat's) strategy and whether it needs to merge to protect its market position, whether the next CEO will have the expertise to drive growth in a tough sector, and just where ... the current strategy focused on sales growth over profits (will) take the firm," said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.

Serviced office space provider IWG shed 2 percent after saying it would close or refurbish some locations in certain markets and posted annual results.

Keeping a lid on the losses among midcaps was defence contractor Ultra Electronics that surged 10.7 percent - its biggest one-day gain in nearly a year - as it bulked up its order book.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Andrew Heavens)



(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Click For Restrictions - https://agency.reuters.com/en/copyright.html


Related Shares:
Legal and General Group (LGEN)Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE)



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