FTSE 100 rises after European sentiment improves

The FTSE 100 climbed to its highest level for two weeks as European financial markets shrugged off potential political uncertainty.

Trading sentiment across London’s top index was supported by positive announcements from Prudential and Frasers, who were among the top risers on the FTSE 100.

London’s top index finished 43.83 points, or 0.53%, higher to end the day at 8,281.55.

Across the Channel, the main indices were shaky early doors but moved higher on a comparably calm day for regional politics, with traders seeing an opportunity to buy more stock.

The Cac 40 in France ended 1.03% higher and the German Dax index was up 0.99% at the close.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: “Fresh inflows are driving the FTSE 100 higher, and the gains are not confined to the UK.

“Political risk is off the agenda today it seems, as the Cac 40 shrugs off impending French elections and the Dax makes gains too.

“Despite a lack of news today it seems that investors remain content to buy the dip.”

In the US, trading was also buoyant as investors bought heavily to help offset weakness around tech stocks.

Meanwhile, sterling recovered some ground against the dollar after the Bank of England held interest rates late last week.

The pound was up 0.29% at 1.268 US dollars and was down 0.02% at 1.182 euros.

In company news, Britvic shares made further gains on Monday after suitor Carlsberg struck a deal with Pepsi which removed a potential obstacle in the Danish brewer’s takeover tilt for the Robinsons squash firm.

Carlsberg said US drinks firm PepsiCo agreed to waive a so-called change-of-control clause as part of its long-term bottling agreement with Britvic, days after the UK drinks firm confirmed it was in takeover talks, having rebuffed two potential offers from Carlsberg.

Shares in Britvic were up 7.1% at 78p, as investors took the update as a signal a stronger takeover bid could be on the cards.

Elsewhere in drinks, Magners and Tennent’s maker C&C Group was also in the green after activist investor Engine Capital published a scathing open letter calling for a strategic review which could take the firm private.

C&C told shareholders it welcomes feedback and “has a clear focus on creating shareholder value”. Shares moved 0.9% higher to 160.4p.

Prudential surged in value during the session after it kicked off the first tranche of a two billion US dollar (£1.6 billion) share buyback to boost returns for investors.

The insurance group announced over the weekend that it would launch the bigger-than-expected buyback plan, with an initial 700 million-dollar (£553 million) tranche starting on Monday. As a result, shares lifted by 7.3% to 759p.

The price of oil took a step forward to offset losses from late on Friday.

A barrel of Brent crude oil was up by 0.18% to 83.00 US dollars as markets were closing in London.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Prudential, up 51.8p to 759p, Frasers, up 33.5p to 903.5p, Burberry, up 33p to 1,018p, Antofagasta, up 63p to 2,121p, and JD Sports, up 3.85p to 129.95p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Berkeley Group, down 98p to 4,632p, Sage Group, down 14.5p to 1,066.5p, National Grid, down 10p to 888.8p, Smurfit Kappa, down 38p to 3,620p, and Auto Trader, down 7.4p to 804.6p.