It’s been a pretty quiet start to the day for trading on the London Stock Exchange (and it’s expected to stay that way if there’s a rare holiday in the US, meaning Wall Street is closed). But there are some notable moves.
Among the mid-caps on the FTSE 250 homebuilder Country is the obvious standout: Its shares are up a staggering 29% after San Francisco-based investor Inclusive Capital Partners (it’s fondly known as In-Cap) made a £1.5bn takeover offer – the second approach in the past two months.
Countryside told In-Cap it would not negotiate, according to a stock market announcement Monday, raising the possibility of a higher offer.
In-Cap owned 9.2% of Countryside’s shares on Friday.
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Oil prices have reached a two-month high as traders anticipate a belated deal to restrict Russian oil imports into the EU, among other factors such as a rebound in demand in China as lockdown restrictions ease.
Brent oil futures rose above $120 a barrel Monday morning for the first time since late March. The 50 cent gain for the day corresponded to a 0.4% increase in the North Sea benchmark, while its North American counterpart, West Texas Intermediate, also gained 0.7%, reaching $115 a barrel.
The EU should be able to agree new sanctions on Monday ahead of a summit of leaders from each country, including against Russian oil, according to foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
Borrell told broadcaster France Info, according to Reuters:
We must decide unanimously. Both yesterday afternoon and this morning there were lively conversations.
I think we can offer the heads of the Member States an agreement this afternoon.
However, it remains to be seen whether the proposed ban will have teeth, with disagreement among European governments. Hungary, in particular, led by Viktor Orbán, who has long had a warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has stood in the way of an embargo in recent weeks, partly because of the country’s dependence on Russian oil.
The EU is working on a compromise plan that will ban the supply of Russian oil in tankers but allow pipeline imports, meaning Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic can continue to receive oil through the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline that runs through Ukraine.
When asked whether plans to include a ban on Russian oil imports could backfire on the resistance of Hungary and other Eastern European states, Borrell said: “No, I don’t think so…there will be one eventually. be an agreement.”
European stock markets started the week well with the Stoxx 600 index of European blue chip companies gaining 0.7% on opening trades. The German Dax index rose 0.8% and the French Cac 40 index 0.6%.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 gained 0.4% and the mid-cap FTSE 250 was up 0.9%.
US markets are closed today for the Memorial Day holiday.
10 a.m. BST: Eurozone economic sentiment index (May; last 105; consensus: 104.9)
13:00 BST: Germany annual inflation rate (May; previous: 7.4%; consensus: 7.6%)