PARIS (Reuters) - British stocks hit fresh record highs on Wednesday after a two-day holiday break, boosted by a rally in commodity stocks and a 28 percent jump for IWG (>> IWG - International Workplace Group) after the serviced office provider confirmed a takeover approach.
Investors cheered the news that IWG had received an all-cash approach from Canadian private equity firm Onex (>> ONEX Corporation) and Brookfield Asset Management (>> Brookfield Asset Management Inc).
The approach marks the latest venture by a foreign acquirer into British mid-caps, with deal prices having dropped because of the pound's depreciation.
A profit warning that prompted a 7 percent share price tumble in October made IWG all the more attractively priced for a potential suitor. The stock was down 18 percent for the year at Friday's close.
Britain's FTSE 100 <.FTSE> hit its highest level ever at 7,632.71 points, slightly topping the previous record high hit last week, before paring some gains and ending up 0.37 percent.
The mid cap index <.FTMC> also surged to a new record high, boosted by IWG's rally. It rose 0.78 percent.
Miners Glencore (>> Glencore), Rio Tinto (>> Rio Tinto) and BHP Billiton (>> BHP Billiton Plc) delivered the biggest boost to the blue-chip index, rising by 1.4 to 2.1 percent as metals prices hovered near the 3-1/2 year highs they hit on a strong Chinese growth outlook.
Mid-cap miners Acacia Mining (>> Acacia Mining PLC) and Hochschild (>> Hochschild Mining Plc) also made strong gains.
Gold producers Fresnillo (>> Fresnillo) and Randgold Resources (>> Randgold Resources) were among the top FTSE gainers, lifted by a rise in gold prices as the dollar softened.
Liquidity remained thin as holidays kept investors away from trading desks.
Tullow Oil (>> Tullow Oil) gained 2.4 percent as oil prices stayed high, fresh from a rally that sent U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude above $60 for the first time since mid-2015.
Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> gained 0.4 percent, boosted by the higher crude prices and the oil major's assertion that the recently enacted U.S. tax reform would have a favourable impact on operations.
Shell became the latest in a string of European companies to forecast a beneficial impact from the U.S. tax overhaul, which includes a cut to the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.
Barclays (>> Barclays) shares rose 0.3 percent despite the bank saying it expects to take a writedown of about 1 billion pounds ($1.34 billion) on its annual post-tax profit as a result of the tax reform.
(Reporting by Helen Reid; additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Andrew Bolton)
By Helen Reid
Stocks treated in this article : Brookfield Asset Management Inc
, ONEX Corporation
, BHP Billiton Plc
, Anglo American
, Acacia Mining PLC
, BHP Billiton Limited
, Rio Tinto Limited
, Tullow Oil
, Randgold Resources
, Rio Tinto
, Hochschild Mining Plc
, IWG - International Workplace Group