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UK's FTSE Bounces off 3-Week Lows on M&A Optimism

  • Diploma PLC surges on strong results
  • M&S rises on media report of buyout by PE firm
  • BT Group and Vodafone join EU telecoms rally
  • FTSE 100 rises 0.4%, FTSE 250 adds 0.2%

Nov 22 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 climbed from three-week lows on Monday, as dealmaking activity in the European telecoms sector boosted shares in Vodafone and BT Group, while miner BHP gained on a deal to merge its petroleum arm with Woodside.

BT Group rose 3% and Vodafone was up 1.7%, benefiting from a broad rally in the sector after U.S. fund KKR proposed to buy Italy's Telecom Italia.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index gained 0.4% - its first session of gains in five - with miner BHP Group inching up on the merger deal of its petroleum business with Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index advanced 0.2%, with Marks and Spencer climbing 3.2% after a media report that New York-based private equity giant Apollo Global Management is mulling a buyout of the retailer.

"The UK market remains depressed in comparison to its peers and private equity obviously believes that a lot of companies are undervalued at the moment which is why you've seen such high M&A activity as compared to the U.S.," said Susannah Streeter, investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"This is an ongoing hangover not just from the pandemic, but Brexit as well."

Bogged down by inflationary fears and supply chain problems, the FTSE 100 has underperformed its European peers, adding just 12.3% this year compared to the 22.2% increase in the pan-European STOXX 600 index.

Rate-sensitive banks were also among the top performers on the day, with traders' focus remaining firmly on whether or not the Bank of England will raise interest rates at its December meeting.

In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper, BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said his concern on the inflation outlook is that it could be "elevated for longer", but there is also a chance that inflation does not prove as persistent as feared.

Higher rates will improve the profitability of lending businesses.

Shares of Diploma Plc jumped 4.9% on reporting a surge in full-year adjusted operating profit.

Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh V and Shailesh Kuber

Source: Reuters

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