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London open: Stocks flat in quiet trade; Ashmore hit by JPM note

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were steady in early trade on Monday morning, with little in the way of corporate or macro news to provide direction. At 0900 GMT, The FTSE 100 was flat at 7,575.81.

There are no data points of note due, but on Tuesday, investors will be eyeing the UK unemployment rate and average earnings, and the consumer price index for January in the US.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said "there's a bit of a lack of direction with many Asian exchanges having closed for holidays".

"There is likely to be a fair amount of treading water going on as investors wait for fresh clues about the trajectory of inflation and the implications for interest rate policy. There's a roll call of central bankers lining up to speak, as the latest consumer price snapshots on both sides of the Atlantic are due to be published mid-week and investors assess just how quickly the UK jobs market is slowing down," she added.

In equity markets, UK Commercial Property REIT rallied after Tritax Big Box said it had agreed terms on a possible bid for the company in an all-share deal worth £924m.

Tritax said it had offered 0.444 new Tritax shares for every UKCP share, leaving it with 76.7% of the merged group and UKCM shareholders with the remainder.

It represents a 10.8% premium to UKCP's closing share price of 64.2 pence per share on February 9.

Travel food outlet operator SSP Group gained as it announced the acquisition of Airport Retail Enterprises in Australia for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1971, privately-owned ARE is a food and beverage operator, with annualised sales in the region of AUD $200m (£100m) from 62 outlets, principally bars, casual dining restaurants and cafes, across seven Australian airports.

On the downside, Ashmore slumped as JPMorgan reiterated its 'underweight' rating on the shares and trimmed the price target, saying the re-rating has gone too far.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,575.81 0.04% FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,192.25 0.68% techMARK (TASX) 4,423.05 0.47%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 540.40p 5.30% Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,316.50p 3.58% Frasers Group (FRAS) 804.50p 2.68% Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,317.00p 2.41% Entain (ENT) 1,032.00p 2.13% Fresnillo (FRES) 486.20p 1.99% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 146.60p 1.95% Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 10,310.00p 1.53% RS Group (RS1) 791.20p 1.49% Unite Group (UTG) 1,008.00p 1.46%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 310.80p -2.29% AstraZeneca (AZN) 9,554.00p -2.12% NATWEST GROUP (NWG) 208.40p -1.09% BT Group (BT.A) 103.85p -1.05% CRH (CDI) (CRH) 5,814.00p -0.82% GSK (GSK) 1,647.80p -0.73% Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,436.00p -0.69% HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 605.40p -0.67% Unilever (ULVR) 3,985.50p -0.50% Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,166.00p -0.31%

FTSE 250 - Risers

W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 91.00p 7.06% Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 84.50p 6.42% UK Commercial Property Reit Limited (UKCM) 67.70p 5.45% Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 2,235.00p 4.68% Future (FUTR) 733.50p 3.90% Close Brothers Group (CBG) 440.40p 3.53% Great Portland Estates (GPE) 390.20p 3.45% Renishaw (RSW) 4,302.00p 3.17% Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 406.20p 3.15% Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 176.20p 2.92%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Pacific Horizon Inv Trust (PHI) 545.00p -2.15% Ashmore Group (ASHM) 224.80p -2.09% Ferrexpo (FXPO) 86.00p -1.99% Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) 157.40p -1.75% Jlen Environmental Assets Group Limited NPV (JLEN) 97.80p -1.21% Mercantile Investment Trust (The) (MRC) 213.50p -1.16% TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 2,910.00p -1.02% Rathbones Group (RAT) 1,550.00p -0.90% Network International Holdings (NETW) 383.60p -0.83% The Renewables Infrastructure Group Limited (TRIG) 100.40p -0.79%

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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