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July 29, 2019, 12:01 p.m. EDT

British stocks enjoy best day in six months on pound collapse, merger buzz

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch


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Share price information is displayed on screens at the London Stock Exchange, which announced it may buy a financial data and infrastructure provider.

British stocks on Monday enjoyed their best single-day performance in six months as the pound collapsed on concerns the U.K. will leave the European Union without an agreed-upon deal.

/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UKX 7,323.80, +16.10, +0.22%

The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.22%  rallied 1.82% to 7,686.61, the best gain of the major European stock markets. The pound tumbled through the $1.23 level to a two-year low as the new Boris Johnson government stepped up plans to leave the EU in a so-called no-deal Brexit.

Traders also flocked to bonds, as the yield on the benchmark 10-year Gilt /zigman2/quotes/211347177/realtime BX:TMBMKGB-10Y -2.29%  fell 4 basis points to 0.65%.

Read : British pound falls below key level, reaches new two-year low on no-deal Brexit concerns

The M&A news didn’t inspire the action across the Atlantic as U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.37% traded in a tight range. The U.S. Federal Reserve is due to cut interest rates on Wednesday, with the markets unsure whether the rate cut will be a quarter-point or a half-point.

In its first major deal since ex-Goldman Sachs executive David Schwimmer took the reins as CEO, the London Stock Exchange Group /zigman2/quotes/206625606/delayed UK:LSE +0.82%  said it’s in talks to buy Refinitiv, owned by Blackstone /zigman2/quotes/203156858/composite BX -0.73%   and Thomson Reuters /zigman2/quotes/203550191/composite TRI +0.58% , in a $27 billion deal to bulk up its offerings of financial data and infrastructure. LSE shares jumped nearly 15%.

Also read : Five things you need to know about the LSE-Refinitiv merger

Analysts at UBS, who rate LSE at neutral, said the deal would lift LSE earnings by 8% in its first year and by 20% in year three, excluding any refinancing benefits.

Just Eat /zigman2/quotes/205192708/delayed UK:JE +0.53% jumped 23% to 780 pence after it and Takeaway.com /zigman2/quotes/201653805/delayed NL:TKWY +5.65%   announced merger talks, in a deal where the Dutch-listed group would buy the U.K.-listed company in a stock swap valuing Just Eat, using Friday’s closing prices, at 731 pence a share. Activist investor Cat Rock has stakes in both food delivery companies and has been reported to be pushing for a deal.

Heavyweight Vodafone Group /zigman2/quotes/202484985/delayed UK:VOD +0.74%   /zigman2/quotes/202862751/composite VOD +0.74%  extended last week’s gains from announcing it may sell its European towers business, with shares rising another 4.3% on Monday.

Ferguson shares /zigman2/quotes/209006722/delayed UK:FERG -2.12%   rose 2.3% as Sky News reported that Nelson Peltz’s Trian has urged the plumbing products distributor to sell its U.K. business.

/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
7,323.80
+16.10 +0.22%
Volume: 574,186
Nov. 19, 2019 4:57p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/211347177/realtime
add Add to watchlist BX:TMBMKGB-10Y
BX : Tullett Prebon
0.74
-0.02 -2.29%
Volume: 0.00
Nov. 19, 2019 5:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
27,932.56
-103.66 -0.37%
Volume: 184.20M
Nov. 19, 2019 3:55p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206625606/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
6,896.00 p
+56.00 +0.82%
Volume: 436,135
Nov. 19, 2019 4:35p
P/E Ratio
50.79
Dividend Yield
0.92%
Market Cap
£23.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203156858/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 51.98
-0.38 -0.73%
Volume: 3.39M
Nov. 19, 2019 3:55p
P/E Ratio
22.65
Dividend Yield
3.69%
Market Cap
$61.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.41M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203550191/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 71.46
+0.41 +0.58%
Volume: 304,756
Nov. 19, 2019 3:54p
P/E Ratio
151.25
Dividend Yield
2.01%
Market Cap
$35.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
$213,217
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205192708/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
754.00 p
+4.00 +0.53%
Volume: 1.71M
Nov. 19, 2019 4:35p
P/E Ratio
130.00
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
£5.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
£161,688
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201653805/delayed
NL : Netherlands: Euronext Amsterdam
83.25
+4.45 +5.65%
Volume: 463,780
Nov. 19, 2019 5:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
€4.82 billion
Rev. per Employee
€86,944
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202484985/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
153.24 p
+1.12 +0.74%
Volume: 54.24M
Nov. 19, 2019 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
4.83%
Market Cap
£40.72 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202862751/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 19.82
+0.15 +0.74%
Volume: 2.88M
Nov. 19, 2019 3:55p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
4.99%
Market Cap
$52.65 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209006722/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
6,740.00 p
-146.00 -2.12%
Volume: 521,877
Nov. 19, 2019 4:35p
P/E Ratio
18.74
Dividend Yield
2.38%
Market Cap
£15.50 billion
Rev. per Employee
£434,666
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Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch markets editor for Europe. Follow him on Twitter: @MKTWgoldstein.

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