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London pre-open: Stocks seen up after S&P 500 rally

Mon, 12th Feb 2024 07:34

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Monday after the S&P 500 closed above the 5,000 level for the first time on Friday.

The FTSE 100 was called to open around 20 points higher.

There wasn't much of note due on the macro calendar, but on Tuesday, investors will be eyeing the UK unemployment rate and average earnings, and the consumer price index for January in the US.

In corporate news, Tritax Big Box said it had agreed terms on a possible bid for UK Commercial Property REIT in an all-share deal worth £924m.

The company said it had offered 0.444 new Tritax shares for every UKCP share, leaving it with 76.7% of the merged group and UKCM shareholders with the remainder.

It also represents a 10.8% premium to UKCP's closing share price of 64.2 pence per share on February 9.

Tritax said the boards of both companies believe the potential offer would "bring together complementary logistics-oriented investment portfolios with a shared focus on resilient and growing income".

Phoenix Life and Investec Wealth & Investment UK - which hold 56.5% of UKCP - have indicated they will accept the offer on current terms, it added.

Elsewhere, GSK announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted fast track designation for bepirovirsen, an investigational antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) aimed at treating chronic hepatitis B (CHB).

The pharmaceuticals giant said the designation would accelerate the drug's development and review process, due to the severity of the condition and its unmet medical need.

Bepirovirsen had shown promise in phase 2b trials, demonstrating the potential to achieve clinically meaningful functional cure responses when combined with existing oral antiviral therapies, which is particularly beneficial for patients with low baseline hepatitis B surface antigen levels.

Travel food outlet operator SSP Group said it had bought Airport Retail Enterprises in Australia for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1971, privately-owned ARE is a food and beverage operator, with annualised sales in the region of AUD $200m (£100m) from 62 outlets, principally bars, casual dining restaurants and cafes, across seven Australian airports.

SSP said the acquisition was part of its plan to accelerate growth in the Asia Pacific region and will see the group enhance its presence in Australia.

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