FTSE 100 kicks off week on tepid note; Medica hits five-year high

By Shristi Achar A and Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 ended Monday’s session flat ahead of a busy earnings week, while shares of telemedicine services firm Medica Group hit a more than five-year high on a buyout deal.

Medica Group surged 33.8% after accepting a takeover bid by private equity firm IK Investment Partners for 269 mln pounds ($334 mln) in cash.

“Medica is the latest to be snapped up by a private equity firm,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“It’s fresh evidence that UK assets are considered to be cheap, weighed down by the impact of Brexit, the weaker pound, and the stagnating (domestic) economy.”

The FTSE 100 closed flat, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 was down 0.2%.

Oil giants BP and Shell added 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively, tracking strength in crude oil prices [O/R].

Base and precious metal miners extended losses into a fourth session and were the biggest drag on the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 on concerns about demand recovering in top-consumer China. [MET/L]

The prior week, the FTSE 100 logged its fifth consecutive weekly rise, marking its longest streak of weekly gains in more than a year.

Markets are now looking for fresh catalysts as investors await company earnings later this week to gauge the impact of monetary tightening on firms.

Lender Barclays Plc and consumer companies like Reckitt and Unilever Plc will report quarterly results this week.

Across the Atlantic, mega-cap companies such as Microsoft Corp, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc, are also scheduled to report their earnings this week.

Dunelm gained 1.5%, helping retailers rise 0.2%, after Stifel upgraded the company to “buy”.

Dowlais Group rose 5.8%, marking its third straight day in gains following its debut.

Meanwhile, data from property website Rightmove showed domestic housing prices rose less than normal for the time of year, over the past month .

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema, Subhranshu Sahu and Sharon Singleton)