FTSE 100 gains on Avast deal, insurers boost

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday, and the domestically focussed mid-cap index hit a record high, lifted by non-life insurers and an $8.6 billion buyout deal for software security firm Avast.

Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.3%, with non-life insurers and oil stocks leading gains.

Avast was the top percentage gainer, up 3.3%, after U.S. based NortonLifeLock Inc agreed to buy the firm for $8.6 billion in cash and shares to create a leader in consumer security software.

Positive earnings, cheap interest rates and re-opening optimism has pushed the FTSE 100 up 11% this year, but it has underperformed its mid-cap peers and the wider European stock market, which continue to scale record highs.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index hit an all-time high of 23,650.90 earlier in the day.

Food delivery company Deliveroo dropped 3.8% after it said there was no material impact from the wider reopening of restaurants in its biggest market, Britain, in the second quarter.

“The pandemic has clearly offered a structural growth opportunity for Deliveroo, but the longer-term outlook depends on how demand holds up in a post-pandemic world,” said Susannah Streeter, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, in a note.

“The fact that it relies heavily on a gig economy model is still a risk for the company.”

Among gainers, British motor insurer Admiral rose 1.5% after it reported a 76% surge in first-half earnings and announced a 27.1 pence special dividend.

Provident Financial jumped 2.5% to a seven-month high after its half-yearly adjusted profit surged.

Graphics: UK midcaps at par with European aggregate

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