December 19, 2017 / 9:07 AM / a year ago

Britain's FTSE edges up, Old Mutual jumps after unit sale

(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)

By Julien Ponthus

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - UK shares caught up slightly on Tuesday with their European peers’ gains from the previous session with Anglo-South African financial services group Old Mutual leading the index after it sold its Buxton UK wealth business for $800 million.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent compared with the pan-European STOXX 600’s rise of 0.1 percent.

World markets are waiting for U.S. lawmakers to pass sweeping tax legislation, expectations of which pushed Wall Street to new record closing highs with investors betting on a boost on profits, share buybacks and higher dividend payouts.

Old Mutual led the index higher, rising 4 percent after it sold its UK wealth business, run by veteran fund manager Richard Buxton, to private equity firm TA Associates for 600 million pounds ($803 million).

The company, which started as an insurance company in Cape Town in 1845, has decided to break itself up as regulatory constraints make the company complex to run in its current form.

Financials added the most points to the index - HSBC rose 0.3 percent, Standard Chartered 0.7 percent and Prudential 0.2 percent.

London-listed spreadbetters IG Group and CMC Market which plunged during the previous session after regulatory threats to parts of their business, were still trading down about 1 percent.

Acacia Mining added 0.6 percent after it said it would sell its 2 percent royalty over the Houndé Mine in Burkina Faso for $45 million to Sandstorm Gold Ltd SSL.TO.

British drugmaker Indivior, which makes drugs that treat opioid addiction, was slightly down, losing 0.2 percent, after announcing operations to amend and extended debt facilities.

In the world of small market capitalisation, price comparison website operator GoCompare.Com posted the best performance, up 4 percent, after it agreed to buy The Global Voucher Group, which operates, and its units for 36.5 million pounds ($48.9 million) in cash. (Reporting by Julien Ponthus Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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