LONDON MARKET OPEN: FTSE 100 seeks positive week; Ultra leads FTSE 250


European share prices early Friday were following positive trading sessions in the US and Asia, as investors attempted to end the week on a positive note.

The FTSE 100 index was up 56.233 points, or 0.8%, at 7,076.68. The London large-cap index was up 0.9% for the week as a whole.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index was up 59.44 points, or 0.3%, at 19,070.26. The AIM All-Share index was up 1.01 points, or 0.1%, at 898.18.

The Cboe UK 100 index was up 0.4% at 703.60. The Cboe 250 was up 0.3% at 16,486.33, and the Cboe Small Companies up 0.2% at 13,490.71.

‘As we approach the halfway point for 2022, investors continue to cross their fingers that markets will have a better second-half than the first six months of the year,’ said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell. ‘Only 59 stocks in the FTSE 350 index are currently sitting on share price gains year-to-date.’

In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 stock index in Paris was up 0.4%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was up 0.9%.

In Asia on Friday, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo closed up 1.2%. In China, the Shanghai Composite ended up 0.9%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 2.0%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney finished up 0.8%.

Wall Street had ended higher on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.6%, S&P 500 up 1.0%, and Nasdaq Composite up 1.6%.

In the FTSE 100 early Friday, International Consolidated Airlines was down 0.7% after British Airways workers based at Heathrow on Thursday voted to strike in a dispute over pay.

Members of the GMB and Unite backed industrial action. The unions said holidaymakers face disruption, warning of a summer of strikes.

Workers, including check-in staff, will now decide on strike dates, which the union said were likely to be held during the peak summer holiday period. Downing Street said strike action would add to passengers' ‘misery’ at airports and called for BA to put contingency measures in place.

Barclays was down 0.4%. The bank said it is buying specialist mortgage lender Kensington Mortgage in a deal is worth around £2.3 billion.

London-based bank Barclays is buying Kensington Mortgage from companies controlled by funds managed by private equity firms Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Advisors and Sixth Street Partners.

In the FTSE 250, Ultra Electronics was the standout performer, up 13%, after its takeover by Cobham moved a step closer to completion.

The UK government on Thursday said it was ‘minded to accept’ remedies to address national security concerns raised by the £2.6 billion acquisition of the defence specialist by former London-listing Cobham.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Thursday launched a consultation into the undertakings offered by Cobham to acquire Ultra, which makes submarine-hunting equipment as well as control systems for the fleet of Trident submarines that carry the UK's nuclear deterrent.

Ultra Electronics said that the proposed undertakings are now subject of public consultation. If the secretary of state's formal approval is received following completion of the consultation, the next key step for the acquisition will be sanction by the court at the scheme court hearing.

At the other end of the midcaps, Energean was the worst performer, down 7.6% at 1,082.72 pence, following a substantial share sale.

Chief Executive Mathios Rigas sold 5 million shares via Growthy Holdings Co at £11.06 each, in a deal worth £55.3 million, in London on Thursday.

Growthy now holds around 15 million shares, an 8.5% stake in the exploration and production company.

In light of the sale, Energean said: ‘Rigas remains fully committed to the business and is confident in the outlook for Energean.’

The pound was quoted at $1.2269 early Friday, up slightly from $1.2260 at the London equities close Thursday.

The euro was priced at $1.0525, up from $1.0517. Against the yen, the dollar was quoted at JP¥134.68, marginally higher against JP¥134.56 late Thursday in London.

Brent oil was trading at $110.05 a barrel Friday morning, down from $111.15 a barrel late Thursday. Gold stood at $1,825.30 an ounce, lower against $1,837.04.

Friday's economic calendar has US new residential sales at 1500 BST.

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