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Europe: Consumer stocks help UK shares end harsh week higher
[LONDON] A near 44 per cent surge in bookmaker William Hill on takeover offers lifted consumer stocks on Friday, helping UK shares outperform European peers and end a tumultuous week on a high note.
Without disclosing the value, buyout firm Apollo and US casino operator Caesars Entertainment made offers for the British betting firm, which had a market value of 2.28 billion pounds (S$4 billion) at Thursday's close.
"William Hill had been one of the big gainers since March among UK equities... The news of course has done what bid approaches always do, namely lift the rest of the sector as well," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
William Hill's peers GVC, Flutter Entertainment and 888 Holdings rose between 6.8 per cent and 16.7 per cent.
The moves helped London's mid-caps index end up 1.4 per cent in its best day in three weeks.
The blue-chips FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 per cent but losses for miners and oil stocks, which tracked commodity prices lower, and banks, which extended losses to a fourth straight session, kept gains in check.
But the moves stood out as Europe declined with the pan-European STOXX 600 index closing down 0.1 per cent, while German shares lost 1 per cent.
Fading hopes of an economic recovery, anticipation of severe restrictions in the UK to curb a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and the scaling back of government job support hit sentiment this week. Both UK indexes lost nearly 3 per cent - the worst week in eight for the FTSE 100.
The prospect of Brexit without a trade deal with the European Union also adds to the uncertainty, overshadowing support from past stimulus measures.
Auto makers, miners and insurers were among the biggest laggards. The general retailers index posted weekly gains as retail sales picked up, while a survey on Friday showed consumer confidence in September rose to its highest level since March.