Monday, 12th March: Equities in the UK started the day in a rather flat fashion, unable to replicate Asian indices’ positive performance overnight as investors continue to absorb Friday’s US jobs data. Galliford Try (FTSE 250) were the biggest mover in London, up c.11% intraday although no specific news has seemingly driven the price surge. The combined UK housebuilder (Linden Homes) and construction company hurt investors last month with an unexpected £150m capital raise. Galliford closed the day +11.53%.
Elsewhere, Melrose have come back with a “final offer” for GKN after the latter rebutted the original attempt. The turnaround specialist Melrose Industries have raised its offer for GKN to £8.1bn (previously £7.4bn), now offering 81p in cash and 1.69 Melrose shares. The board of GKN this afternoon rejected the offer, insisting that Melrose’s revised offer “continues to fundamentally undervalue GKN”. GKN’s shares fell slightly after the rejection announcement, although shares had spent the day in red, eventually closing 2.53%. Melrose fell more so to close 4.98%.
Casual Dining Group, who owns the likes of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia have become the latest potential casualty in the UK restaurant space. Posting losses of £60m (an 18% increase) despite a 2.2% rise in like for like sales, the group said it had faced challenging conditions, including the National Living Wage introduction and food and drink cost inflation driven by 2017’s sterling depreciation. Unlike others who are facing difficulties in the sector (Jamie’s Italian and Byron burgers have recently closed restaurants, alongside Prezzo), Casual Dining looks to be further expanding with new UK opening and refurbishments.
Indices in Europe failed to really get going today, with a mixed close across the continent: FTSE 100 -.13%; 250 +0.16%; CAC 40 +0.04% and; DAX Xetra +0.66%. It follows positive sentiment in Asia overnight where the Hang Seng closed +1.9% and the Nikkei in Japan +1.65%. Despite opening in the green, indices in the US are trading lower while the US dollar also edged lower.