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Best week in 3 months for UK mid-caps as Aggreko jumps on buyout offer

Shivani Kumaresan
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A broker looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index the trading floor

By Shivani Kumaresan

(Reuters) - British mid-caps rose on Friday, scoring their best week since November, as power equipment supplier Aggreko Plc soared following a buyout proposal and faster vaccine rollouts supported hopes for a brisk economic revival.

Aggreko surged 32.9% after saying it was in talks over a possible 2.25 billion pound ($3.09 billion) buyout by private equity groups TDR Capital LLP and I Squared Capital.

The mid-cap index rose 1.2% and the blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 0.2%, with Unilever Plc and AstraZeneca Plc the biggest drags on the latter.

Progress in vaccine distribution and expectations of a large stimulus by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration helped global markets trade near their record highs and led to the FTSE 100 gaining 1.3% this week.

"I think for UK the problem in vaccines is that even if we are in the clear by May, we might still have essentially closed borders, which will be a big weight to growth," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

"So Europe’s vaccine problems could become our problem too. This has implications for equities."

AstraZeneca and Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine has similar efficacy against the British coronavirus variant as it does to the previously circulating variants, the university said.

The UK stock market has tracked a global rally following the coronavirus-led crash last March, but lagged European and U.S. peers on fears of a long road to pre-pandemic levels of economic growth.

British house prices fell last month for the first time since May as a boom in activity late last year started to lose steam, mortgage lender Halifax said.

In company news, shares in Beazley jumped 14.9% after the insurer said it was confident of returning to profitability and bringing back its dividend during the course of this year.

Shares of French Connection soared 66.1% after the British fashion retailer said was is in takeover talks with two possible suitors.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru. Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Mark Potter)