Supermarket merger lifts London stocks


London’s stock market led the way higher in Europe on Monday thanks to the prospect of a supermarket mega-merger. Earlier, Hong Kong led a rally across most Asian markets as traders brushed off a slowdown in the US economy, while the boost from last week’s historic North-South Korea summit continued to support Seoul and the won. “A genuinely game-changing deal in the supermarket sector was the main highlight” for London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell. Britain’s second and third biggest supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Walmart-owned Asda have agreed to merge, the pair said Monday, hoping to create a £13-billion ($18-billion, 15-billion-euro) retail king and leapfrog UK number one Tesco. Sainsbury’s stock shot up 17 percent at 315.8 pence in London midday deals, while Tesco was down 0.4 percent at 237.1 pence. Asda is not listed. Investors across the globe meanwhile continued to react to data Friday that showed US growth had slowed in January-March. Despite the update, tech firms on Wall Street won pre-weekend support after healthy earnings figures from Amazon, Microsoft and Intel.—AFP

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