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FTSE 100 latest: Blue chip index hits pandemic high as recovery sparks party spirit

·3-min read
The FTSE 100 gained 45.36 points to 7133.57 earlier (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
The FTSE 100 gained 45.36 points to 7133.57 earlier (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

While there may be gloom around whether June 21’s lockdown easing day will go ahead as planned, there were signs of a party spirit on the FTSE 100.

The jump in economic output in April lifted confidence and the blue chip index gained 45.36 points to 7133.57 in the late morning. It went on to reach 7134.81.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “The sun is shining; the economy is hurtling towards recovery and investors are in a celebratory mood.”

Risers included Halma, which was still in demand after yesterday’s update on record annual profits. Shares in the manufacturer of life-saving medical today improved 80p to 2760p.

Miners Glencore and Fresnillo also made gains, up 8.4p to 328.3p and 22.6p to 872.6p respectively.

Elsewhere, there was a report today from the International Energy Agency that said global oil demand is set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

AJ Bell’s Hewson added: “There may be concerns about inflation, about potential delays to the reopening schedule, but there’s no question that people are spending, and businesses are making the most of pent up demand. Whilst rising commodity prices could be storing up trouble for another day, today they are boosting miners and discussions about increased oil production only lends weight to the argument that recovery is global despite recent flare ups.”

Over on the FTSE 250, and private equity appetite for UK-listed companies showed no signs of abating as a buyout firm made yet another approach, its fifth, for Sanne.

This time the takeover target, a provider of fund administration services, is entering into discussions, prompting one analyst to quote Benjamin Franklin: “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

Suitor Cinven has certainly been persistent in its pursuit of FTSE 250 company Sanne Group, which helps asset managers and hedge funds with services, including on tax compliance.

Sanne last month said it had received a fourth unsolicited, non-binding proposal from Cinven. The possible all cash offer at a price of 850p per share was rejected.

Today Sanne told the City its board has decided to enter into talks over a latest 875p per share proposal that values the business at around £1.4 billion.

There have been a flurry of deals to take listed firms private this year, with some analysts pointing to stock remaining better value compared with some international firms.

Shares in Sanne jumped 88.4p, more than 11%, to 860.4p.

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, who made the Franklin reference, said whether Cinven will “need to put a cherry on top” of the offer remains to be seen.

On the junior market shares in Sigma Capital Group surged more than 34%, or 51.5p, to 200.5p.

The AIM-listed company which helps source land, works with housebuilders and manage rental home sites when completed in the capital and other parts of the UK, said it has reached an agreement with a suitor.

A subsidiary of funds managed by property investment group PineBridge Benson Elliot has proposed a cash offer at 202.1p per Sigma share. That represents a 35.% premium to the closing price yesterday.

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