Hotels and leisure boost FTSE

Hotel and leisure stocks helped buoy the London market today after a multi-billion pound takeover deal in the industry drew investors to the sector.

Hotel and leisure stocks helped buoy the London market today after a multi-billion pound takeover deal in the industry drew investors to the sector.

InterContinental Hotels Group and Premier Inn owner Whitbread were the biggest gainers following news that Hilton Hotels Corporation had accepted a £10bn takeover offer from US private equity giant Blackstone.

The uplift helped prop the FTSE 100 Index up 15.6 points to 6655.4 in a generally quiet day as traders exercised caution ahead of the Bank of England’s interest rate decision on Thursday.

The consolidation in the hotels sector meant InterContinental – often seen as a takeover target – rose more than 5%, or 67p to 1325p. Whitbread added 73p to 1826p, while Millennium & Copthorne jumped 26.5p to 678.5p in the FTSE 250 Index.

The read through from the Blackstone valuation lifted shares across the leisure sector, with Punch Taverns ahead 36p at 1298p and Enterprise Inns up 15.5p at 702.5p. Property firms also benefited to see British Land climb 28p to 1360p and shopping centre owner Liberty International gain 14p to 1149p.

Broadcaster ITV slipped 0.5p to 114.5p after it said advertising revenues fell by 9% at its flagship ITV1 channel in the first half of the year, even as the market showed signs of stabilising elsewhere.

Mining group Lonmin topped the Footsie fallers as it went ex-dividend – meaning investors will not be entitled to the latest payouts. The stock lost 1%, or 43p to 4267p.

On a quiet day for corporate news, Robert Wiseman shares fell 1% after the dairy business highlighted uncertainty caused by further increases in packaging costs. Stockbroker Panmure Gordon cut its profits forecast following the trading update, leaving shares 4.5p lower at 518p.

Sport goods retailer Umbro lifted 4p to 162p, after it said recent trading had been in line with expectations.

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