Britain's FTSE 100 surged to its highest in nearly a year on Monday, as shares of Just Eat and London Stock Exchange rallied on deal-related news, while exporter stocks benefited from a weaker pound amid heightened ‘no-deal' Brexit fears.
The main index shot up by 1.8%, its biggest one-day gain in nearly six months. The mid-cap FTSE 250 shrugged off steep losses in shares of Sports Direct and corporate services company Sanne Group, as well as a drop in the pound, to rise 0.1%.
Just Eat soared 23% to 793.27 pence on its best day on record after Takeaway.com agreed to buy it in an 8.2 billion pound ($10.1 billion) deal to create the world's largest online food delivery firm outside China.
“The deal gives Just Eat and its interim CEO the perfect exit, whilst also creating a company with the scale and strength to take on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Amazon," Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson said.
London Stock Exchange surged 15.3% to an all-time high after the company confirmed it was in talks to buy financial data analytics provider Refinitiv Holdings for $27 billion, including debt.
Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters, holds a 45% stake in Refinitiv.
“CHASING A NO-DEAL BREXIT"
The FTSE 100 handily outperformed the broader European market as well as the Wall Street, which were held back by weak earnings.
Investors were also tentative ahead of an expected interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve this week. With the rate cut an almost foregone conclusion, the broader sentiment is more likely to be determined by whether the central bank drops hints of further policy easing.
Exporter stocks aided the FTSE 100's gains with sterling sinking to a 28-month low as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would leave on Oct. 31 without a deal unless the European Union renegotiated.
“An already bad start turned into a full-blown panic attack for sterling. It honestly seems like Boris Johnson's government is actively chasing a no-deal Brexit," Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said.
On the mid-cap index, Sports Direct slipped 7.5% after its delayed results statement showed annual core earnings fell due to problems integrating House of Fraser and as it warned it could face a 674 million euro tax bill from Belgium.
Asset and corporate services company Sanne Group plummeted 34%, its steepest one-day fall ever, after cutting its annual earnings and margin forecast, while shopping centre operator Hammerson lost 7.2% after it posted lower first-half net rental income.
Money manager Neil Woodford's listed trust, Woodford Patient Capital Trust, slipped 4.3% to a new record low on news that the suspension of one of his funds was unlikely to be lifted until December. Earlier in the day, WPCT said he had sold 1.75 million shares in the trust this month.
Georgian lender TBC Group, whose shares have been pressured lately after its chairman stepped down following money laundering charges, surged 11.3% on its best day on record as its first-half profit rose by nearly a fifth on strong lending.