March 13, 2017 / 10:07 AM / 4 months ago

Miners support Britain's FTSE, M&A sends mid caps to record high

3 Min Read

(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

* FTSE 100 up 0.1 pct

* Mid caps hit record high

* Miners lend support

* John Wood Group makes offer for Amec Foster

By Kit Rees

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - British shares started the week on a firm footing as mining stocks rallied, with deal-making helping the mid cap index to a record high.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent at 7,348.67 points by 0950 GMT, while the FTSE 250 gained 0.2 percent.

Mining stocks rallied almost 3 percent, and added around 15 points to the FTSE 100. Shares in Anglo American , Rio Tinto, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Glencore rose between 2.4 percent and more than 4 percent as the price of copper recovered from its biggest weekly fall since December.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo was the top gainer, up 4.8 percent, while gold miner Randgold Resources also rose 2.3 percent as the price of gold edged higher.

Some of the more dramatic moves were among mid cap stocks, with deal-making fuelling a rise in Amec Foster Wheeler and John Wood Group's shares.

Amec Foster soared 15.4 percent after an offer from oilfield services company John Wood in a deal valued at around $2.7 billion. John Wood's shares rose 5.2 percent.

"The currency devaluation, essentially, is what it is, so now we're getting to the stage where there are attractive opportunities in the slightly lower-capitalised companies as well," Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, said.

"For Amec Foster Wheeler, probably the valuation is just about right for a particularly interested buyer. This is in an area where it's not going to be of interest unless there's some expertise there."

Likewise Bovis Homes jumped 8.3 percent after peer Galliford Try made a bid for the homebuilder. Bovis rejected the bid but said it remained in talks with Galliford Try about a possible deal.

Bovis had also rejected a proposal from Redrow.

"We believe consolidation amongst two mid-cap homebuilders makes sense in order to gain scale and achieve cost efficiencies," UBS analysts said in a note.

"However, attractive returns achievable on land limits options for cash transactions, in our view. As such, a proposed share merger at a premium to book looks reasonable," they added. (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Mark Potter)

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