Pernod takeover deal boosts FTSE

Drinks giant Allied Domecq was leading London shares higher today as investors toasted a takeover by French group Pernod Ricard.

Drinks giant Allied Domecq was leading London shares higher today as investors toasted a takeover by French group Pernod Ricard.

The stock was the highest FTSE 100 Index climber – up 3% or 20p to 663p - after saying it had agreed to the £7.4bn (€10.8bn) tie-up.

However, heavy falls across the Atlantic last night limited the Footsie’s progress, leaving it 7.2 points higher at 4829.2 by mid-morning.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1% overnight after a jump in consumer prices led to fears of higher interest rates in the US.

In London, bookmaker William Hill was in focus as investors continued to review Monday’s statement that it was interested in buying 600 betting shops from Stanley Leisure. The stock was fifth in the list of Footsie risers, up 8.5p at 570.5p.

But insurers were a negative force on the market, with Norwich Union owner Aviva down 7.5p to 594p and Old Mutual weakening 1.75p to 123p as they both went ex-dividend.

Elsewhere, WH Smith gained 4.75p to 348.5p after half-year results indicated the ailing retailer was on the road to recovery. Underlying profits rose 32%, while it said like-for-like sales from its retail division had held firm in the past seven weeks.

Telecoms group Colt advanced 1.75p to 51p after it said a tighter focus on costs and an improved mix of sales helped increase underlying earnings – despite turnover slipping in the first quarter of the year.

And pizza delivery chain Domino’s advanced 4%, up 9.5p to 276.5p after reporting an 8.2% increase in like-for-like sales in the 15 weeks to April 17 and sounding an upbeat note about its expansion plans.

But housebuilder Persimmon was in the red after saying it was selling fewer homes than a year ago.

The stock weakened 1% or 10p to 696.5p.

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