London’s FTSE 100 made a muted start to the week, unable to hold gains as Friday’s risk rally faded, but there were some notable names standing out amid the profit-taking.
Liberum Capital made a significant hike to its price target on the shares, to 200p from 155p. The broker also issued a buy rating on the stock, which gained 3.6 per cent and rose to the top of the FTSE 100.
Severn Trent was at the other end of the market after the LongRiver consortium threatened to withdraw its £22-per-share offer, which values the issued share capital of the water utility at £5.3bn. Its shares fell 3.7 per cent to £19.93.
Overall, London’s main index fell 15 points to 6,396.92. Its loss of 0.2 per cent ate into the 1.2 per cent rally on Friday, when gains were inspired by robust US jobs data.
Much of the rest of the list of the biggest fallers consisted of resource stocks, after Friday’s exuberance faded with the memory of the US non-farm payrolls report.
AstraZeneca climbed 0.9 per cent to £33.30 after the drugs manufacturer said it was buying Pearl Therapeutics of the US for $1.15bn. The bid for the respiratory drugs specialist would mark Astra’s second purchase since May as the company seeks to rebuild its product pipeline through acquisitions.
Sawas Neophytou at Panmure Gordon said that although the price may look a little expensive, the deal was strategically important. “AstraZeneca’s respiratory business corresponds to some 16 per cent of revenues and its pipeline was threadbare,” the broker said, reiterating its hold recommendation on the stock.