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Weekly review

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Friday 13 Dec 2019

(Sharecast News) - London's FTSE 100 ended the week 113.78 points higher to 7,353.44.
Equity view

Prosus sweetened its offer for online food delivery firm Just Eat on Monday to £5.1bn from £4.9bn.

Merck has agreed to buy biopharmaceutical group ArQule in a $2.7bn cash deal.

Tullow Oil chief executive Paul McDade quit on Monday as the company slashed production forecasts and suspended its dividend.

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has agreed to buy US biotechnology group Synthorx Inc in a $2.4bn cash deal as it looks to bolster its immuno-oncology pipeline.

Online food takeaway service Just Eat on Tuesday rejected a revised 740p-a-share offer from Prosus, saying it "significantly" undervalued the company.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker announced the departure of its chief executive officer and chairman on Tuesday as it scrapped its dividend payments and warned on profits.

JD Wetherspoon announced plans to invest more than £200m on its pub estate over the next four years.

Computacenter said that full-year profits and earnings per share will be "well ahead" of current market expectations thanks to strong performances from its established and US businesses.

JD Sports was under the cosh on Wednesday following reports that its largest shareholder, Pentland Group, had sold off a stake in the sportswear retailer.

Saudi Aramco shares rallied 10% on Wednesday in their debut on Riyadh's Tadawul stock market giving the group a market value of nearly $1.9trn.

Takeaway.com has exended the timetable for its offer for Just Eat after receiving acceptances representing less than 14% of the food delivery group's shares.

Outsourcing firm Serco on Thursday said it expected "record" order intake to drive a surge in profit for 2019, with further strong growth expected in 2020.

Standard Chartered has agreed to sell its stake in Indonesia's PT Bank Permata to Bangkok Bank for $1.3bn (£986m).

Ocado Retail, the joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, posted a slight slowdown in fourth-quarter revenue on Thursday.

Hurricane Energy on Friday said that it expects 2019 revenue of around $165m thanks to a "strong" performance from its Lancaster wells.

The Competition and Markets Authority said on Friday that it will investigate whether Viagogo's $4bn acquisition of StubHub will result in a "substantial lessening" of competition in the market.

Arcadia Group, the owner of Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, has completed the refinancing of a £310m loan for its flagship store on Oxford Street which houses both Nike and Topshop.

Economic news

Britain's economy flatlined in October as growth in services was offset by a decline in construction, official figures showed.

Britain's deficit in trade with the rest of the world widened in October, as UK companies stockpiled goods ahead of the missed Brexit deadline, while overseas firms showed continued wariness towards the country's exports.

A Conservative victory followed by Britain leaving the EU in January 2020 is the most likely outcome of the election but the effect on UK equities will be limited, according to JP Morgan.

Sterling came under pressure on Wednesday after a widely-followed opinion poll predicted the Conservatives would win the General Election with a significantly smaller majority than initially expected.

UK house prices fell in November amid uncertainty about Brexit and the general election, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won a large majority in parliament after gaining seats in traditional Labour heartlands as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would not contest the next election.

Analysts sounded an upbeat note on UK equities on Friday after the Conservative Party won a majority in the general election, highlighting a preference for stocks with domestic exposure.

International events

Chinese exports fell in November as country's bitter trade war with the US continued to weigh on the economy, although import growth did come in ahead of economists' forecasts.

Germany's flagging economy enjoyed a surprise fillip in October, as exports rose beyond well beyond expectations.

Negotiators from the US and China are working to postpone the introduction of new tariffs on Chinese exports in mid-December.

Donald Trump is piling the pressure on Tokyo to choose a US defence contractor to develop replacements for its F-2 multi-role combat aircraft instead of Britain's BAE Systems.

The airline industry has trimmed its expectations for 2019 profits, dragged lower by weak economic growth and the US-China trade war, but is predicting a stronger 2020.

Policymakers at the US Federal Reserve voted unanimously to keep policy unchanged, nodding to still "solid" labour market conditions, but pointing out that business fixed investment and exports remained weak and that its preferred measure of inflation continued to run below target.

Negotiators from the US and China have inked the terms of a phase-one trade accord between the two countries, according to reports.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that the US and China were "getting very close to a big deal" on trade.

The European Central Bank kept all its main policy settings unchanged, issuing a statement identical to that published after the governing council's previous meeting.

Trade talks between Washington and Beijing have achieved a "major advancement", Chinese official said on Friday.

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