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Europe, News

Oil majors lift FTSE 100, Ted Baker rises on M&A chatter

* FTSE 100, FTSE 250 up 0.1%

* Oil majors biggest boost to main bourse

* Ted Baker outshines mid-cap index on M&A reports (Adds company news items, updates share price)

By Muvija M

July 22 (Reuters) – Gains in oil heavyweights amid heightened tensions in the Middle East helped London’s main index outperform its European counterparts on Monday, while Ted Baker was in demand after multiple media reports of takeover plans.

The FTSE 100 index of bluechip companies and the FTSE 250 midcap index added 0.1% each by 0758 GMT.

Oil majors Shell and BP were higher, tracking gains in crude prices on concerns that Iran’s seizure of a British tanker last week may lead to supply disruptions in the Middle East.

Monday’s gains in the midcap bourse were led by Ted Baker Plc with a 15.5% jump, after a media report that its founder Ray Kelvin could back a private equity buyout of the retailer, months after he resigned.

Tour operator TUI’s London-listed shares rose 2.7%, topping the FTSE 100 leader-board, with a trader citing a “buy” rating from Stifel, and a ratings upgrade from Barclays for Sainsbury’s 2.1% gain.

Helped in part by expectations of interest rate cuts by central banks, the exporter-heavy FTSE 100 has recovered from a slump it had weathered in May due to global trade uncertainty, and is currently on course for its best year since 2016.

The index, which earns roughly two-thirds of its profits in the U.S. dollar, has also benefited as Brexit jitters have pressured the pound. On Friday, a Reuters poll showed eurosceptic Boris Johnson leading Jeremy Hunt in the race to be the next Prime Minister.

“Watch for a harder tone on Brexit and the very clear message that October 31st is a hard date. As previously argued, the reality of parliamentary arithmetic may see this soften in due course,” analyst Neil Wilson said.

Metro Bank climbed 2.6% after the troubled mid-cap lender confirmed a report that it was in talks on the sale of a loan portfolio.

Weighing on the main index was Premier Inn owner Whitbread , which lost 2.4% after the company said it was not planning any further capital return to shareholders.

Energy company Centrica fell 1.1% after the Times reported that the company was set to cut its dividend and put its oil and gas business up for sale. (Reporting by Muvija M, additional reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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