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FTSE 100 continues record run, Darktrace rallies on buyout deal

FTSE 100 continues record run, Darktrace rallies on buyout deal

By Pranav Kashyap and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -Britain’s FTSE 100 rose to another record high on Friday as strong earnings from U.S. tech giants buoyed investor sentiment, while cybersecurity firm Darktrace rallied following a buyout deal by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up 0.4%, hitting a record for a fourth consecutive session. The index is set for its biggest weekly gain in more than seven months.

“The combination of recovering earnings and reasonable prices continue to make things look quite attractive for the UK market,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG Group.

“Yesterday’s earnings just reassure everybody. If you had a nasty miss from either or both of them, you would have been looking at a fairly different marketplace this morning,” he said, referring to Alphabet and Microsoft.

Sentiment in Asian and broader European markets was optimistic after upbeat earnings from Wall Street tech titans Alphabet and Microsoft. [.N]

NatWest jumped 3.5% to touch a more than one-year-high after the British bank’s first-quarter profit fell by a less-than-expected 27%.

Anglo American slipped 0.8% after it rejected BHP Group’s 31.1 billion pound ($38.88 billion) takeover proposal, saying the bid significantly undervalued the London-listed miner and its future prospects. The stock had rallied 16% following BHP’s offer on Thursday.

BHP’s UK-listed stock fell 1.5%. The mip-cap FTSE 250 gained 1%, with Darktrace rallying 19.3% after Thoma Bravo agreed to buy the Mike Lynch-backed cybersecurity company for about $5.32 billion.

“It’s a whopping 40% premium and what people are seeing is a chance to exit the business at a very reasonable price. It’s a sign of the strength of the firm,” IG Group’s Beauchamp said.

Meanwhile, British consumer sentiment returned to a two-year high this month as households took a more positive view of the economy and their own finances, a long-running survey showed.

Investors will keep a close eye on the U.S. inflation data later in the day for clues on when the Federal Reserve will start easing monetary policy.

Convatec Group plc fell 6.4% after Peel Hunt downgraded the stock to “reduce” from “add”.

(Reporting by Pranav Kashyap and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Mrigank Dhaniwala)

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