London's FTSE 100 edged higher on Thursday as Ferguson surged to an eight-month high after activist investor Nelson Peltz bought into the plumbing products distributor, while oil majors recovered from steep losses in the previous session.
The FTSE 100 inched 0.1% higher, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 was roughly flat by 0725 GMT. Ferguson jumped 5.5% to the top of the main index after Peltz's Trian Fund disclosed a stake of almost 6% and said it would work with the company, formerly known as Wolseley, to explore initiatives to create long term value for shareholders.
Oil stocks provided the biggest boost to the index as crude prices rebounded after slipping more than 3.5% on Wednesday. But stock market gains were limited by a 1.6% drop in Tesco shares after Britain's biggest retailer said its underlying sales growth slowed in the latest quarter.
Peer Marks and Spencer gave up 2.3% after the clothing and food retailer said it received valid acceptances of roughly 85.14% shares for a rights issue. Just Group climbed 10% on the mid-cap index. The specialist pension provider said in a statement ahead of its annual general meeting that it was focused on delivering "capital self-sufficiency" by 2022.
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