As shares drifted ahead of this evening’s gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole in the US, there was still a spate of takeover speculation to liven up a quiet morning.
Vodafone has added 1.9p to 204.5p on renewed talk that US rival AT&T might be preparing an offer for the UK mobile phone group. In January AT&T was forced to say it had no plans to bid, ruling it out for six months. That deadline has, of course, now passed.
Meanwhile AstraZeneca is up 34p at 4445.5p, as investors were reminded that thwarted suitor Pfizer could come back next week – if invited to do so by AstraZeneca. However that seems a little unlikely, given the UK group’s hostility to the initial offer. Analyst Savvas Neophytou at Panmure Gordon said:
The stock was strong yesterday, on a news story that on 26 August Pfizer may be able to make another approach for AstraZeneca by being invited by Astrazeneca’s board to bid (VERY unlikely in my view).
The prospects of renewed hostilities next week are remote, but AstraZeneca remains an attractive bid candidate which may attract interest after 26 November [when Pfizer could return without AstraZeneca’s recommendation}. We re-iterate our hold recommendation and 4,400p target price.
Overall the FTSE 100 has edged up 2.10 points to 6779.76, with investors cautious ahead of the US meeting, awaiting signs from both Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi on the outlook for rate rises (in the case of the US) or stimulus measures such as quantitative easing (from the Europeans).
via The Guardian