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Liontrust acquires Majedie | FTSE 100 enjoys Santa rally


5pm: FTSE 100 enjoys Santa rally

Equities enjoyed a buoyant session as Omicron fears receded and traders began what appears to be a seasonal rally.

The FTSE 100 closed 107.62 points (1.49%) higher at 7,339.90, driven by miners. Anglo American was up 6.49%, Rio Tinto added 4.8%, and Glencore was 3.12% ahead.

Equipment rental firm Ashtead Group rallied 3.94% after it upgraded its expectations for the full year as it reported a record first-half performance, hailing momentum across the business.


Online greeting card retailer Moonpig jumped 9.26% ahead of half-year results later in the week.

On the downside, defence engineering firm Babcock International reversed earlier gains to close down 0.98%, after it reported an increase in underlying interim profit, but expressed caution over the Omicron coronavirus variant and ongoing inflation and supply chain constraints.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, commented: “A noticeable bump for the FTSE 100 has come from miners bolstered by the decision by China’s central bank to up the amount of cash sloshing around the system by reducing the amount banks have to hold in reserve. 

“Prudent policy it may be termed but it’s also policy with a clear target in sight. 

“There is still a degree of uncertainty about how consumers will respond to the shifting sands of Covid, though certainly the latest UK retail figures suggest they’re responding by simply getting on with life. 

Precautions will be taken; risk will be assessed but the appetite to put life on hold once more simply isn’t there. Even airline stocks, which will bear the brunt of new travel restrictions, have been surprisingly resilient.”

On the economic front, industry data released earlier showed UK retail sales jumping last month, as consumers sought out Black Friday deals and got a head start on Christmas shopping.

According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, total sales strengthened 5.0% last month, compared to growth of 0.9% a year previously.

On a like-for-like basis, sales rose 1.8% year-on-year, above the three-month average of 0.2% but below the 12-month average of 9.3%.

9am: Liontrust adds to consolidation process

Liontrust Asset Management’s £120 million acquisition of Majedie Asset Management, announced this morning, is a further sign of the consolidation under way in the sector, says Ryan Hughes, head of investment research at AJ Bell.

The acquisition is made up of £97m in new shares and up to £23m in cash.

Liontrust has been acquisitive in the past couple of years and this purchase adds another £5.8bn to its ever-growing assets under management, taking it to £42.3bn. Rob Harris, CEO Majedie, will join Liontrust as head of global institutional business.

“The purchase of Majedie is a surprise as it was not a name regularly touted as a takeover target given its owner managed structure and strong independence but the ability to tap into Liontrust’s wider resource and hopefully grow the assets was clearly a strong pull,” says Hughes.

“For Liontrust, gaining a stronger footprint in the institutional market would have been a key attraction given it has mainly been a retail brand.”

8.10am: Blue chips rise

Blue chip shares continued their upward momentum in line with forecasts. The FTSE 100 was 57.31 points higher at 7,289.59 in early trades.

7am: Iomart in line with expectations

Cloud computing firm iomart said adjusted pre-tax profit for the half year to the end of September was 7% lower at £9.1 million (2021: £9.8m) but in line with the board’s expectations.

It said it had made positive progress in evaluating targeted opportunities to extend the group’s technology and product capabilities, while enhancing revenue, profitability and EPS.

Full story here

7am: FNZ acquires Appway

Adrian Durham

FNZ, the Edinburgh-based wealth management platform, has acquire Appway, a client onboarding and servicing firm for financial institutions.

Hanspeter Wolf, CEO and Founder of Appway, will become Chief Technology Officer of the FNZ Group and join the senior leadership team, effective on the acquisition closing date.

Full story here

Global markets

The FTSE 100 was expected to follow Wall Street’s momentum after a strong start to the week that saw the blue chip index add almost 110 points or 1.5% yesterday to close at 7,232.28.

The Dow Jones was 1.9% higher as market traders responded positively to reports that the omicron Covid variant will not be as bad as feared.

Asia Pacific shares were mostly higher following the rally in the US. The Nikkei in Japan jumped 1.89% and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.62%.

China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.14% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 2.09%.

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