Exchanges merger fails to lift FTSE

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The FTSE 100 fell 16.5 points to 6074.9

Shares in the London Stock Exchange have raced ahead after it unveiled a deal to join forces with the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The proposed combination, which will create a leading trading platform with more than 6,700 listings, helped LSE’s shares lift 9% or 84p to 976p in the FTSE 250 Index.

In the top flight, trading was more subdued after the FTSE 100 Index jumped to a new high for the year on Tuesday night. It retreated 16.5 points to 6074.9 as household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser disappointed investors with fourth quarter results showing a 3% drop in operating profits.

The Slough-based group, which owns brands including Cillit Bang and Dettol, joined rivals in cautioning over input costs and competition within the industry. Shares in the blue-chip stock fell nearly 4% or 126p to 3319p.

The biggest improvement in the top flight came from leisure group Whitbread, which climbed 45p to 1838p, while insurer Prudential added 16.5p to 732p.

Elsewhere, shares in Playtech were 4% or 16p higher at 402.5p after the Daily Telegraph reported that Ladbrokes has begun exploratory merger talks with the world’s biggest provider of gambling software.

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