March 12, 2018 / 9:46 AM / 6 months ago

FTSE 100 lags Europe on miners and energy, Just Eat goes cold

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* FTSE 100 up 0.1 pct

* Just Eat hit by DB downgrade

* Vectura, Hikma hit by delay to Advair drug

* GKN up slightly after “final” offer from Melrose

By Helen Reid

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index underperformed other European markets on Monday due to weak mining and energy stocks, while shares in takeaway company Just Eat were hit by a broker downgrade.

Early gains for the FTSE 100 quickly dissipated and it was up just 0.1 percent by 0942 GMT, missing out on a rally lifting European stocks, with Germany’s DAX up 0.7 percent.

Falls in miners and oil majors had the biggest influence as the price of metals and crude fell.

Takeaway company Just Eat was the biggest faller, down 4.2 percent after Deutsche Bank cut its rating to ‘sell’.

“Just Eat is expanding into food takeaway delivery, an already crowded market, versus the company’s existing position as an order aggregation platform,” Deutsche Bank analysts said.

Competition from rivals such as Deliveroo and UberEats would also crimp its growth, Deutsche said.

Just Eat’s shares are down 12 percent since its results last week, when it said it would invest in delivery in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Merger and acquisition news also drove British shares, with GKN up 1.8 percent after Melrose made a final offer for the engineering company, increasing its initial bid to 8.1 billion pounds from 7.4 billion pounds.

“The muted market reaction of the GKN share price to the increased offer of 467p by Melrose is the strongest indication yet that Melrose might not get its way and that GKN’s management and their Project Boost strategy is winning,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

The FTSE 250 managed a 0.2 percent gain, but saw some heavy losses from Vectura and Hikma.

Hikma fell 2 percent after the pharmaceutical firm suffered a setback when U.S. regulators insisted it conduct a further clinical study evaluating its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair lung drug.

Vectura, Hikma’s partner on the drug, sank 7.3 percent to the bottom of the FTSE 250. The firm said the generic medication could be approved and launched in 2020.

The stock is down 37 percent year-to-date, while Hikma is down 21.6 percent.

Overall the results season has been encouraging, said Peel Hunt strategist Ian Williams.

“There have been a few profit warnings in the consumer-facing areas, but 2017 reported numbers have come in a bit better than expected and the growth number for 2017 has come up a bit,” he said.

The FTSE 100 remains cheaper than euro zone stocks on forward price-to-earnings, after February’s sell-off sent valuations across markets down.

“I don’t think you can argue that valuation is going to bounce back to its previous level,” added Williams.

Gold miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources fell 1.1 and 1.4 percent, as the price of the safe-haven metal was dragged down by a broader equity market recovery.

easyJet was a top gainer, up 2.2 percent after a note from Credit Suisse argued the budget airline’s summer pricing could deliver positive surprises.

Reporting by Helen Reid Editing by Alexander Smith

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