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* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct
* Weak sterling, strong miners boost blue-chips
* Micro Focus wilts as CS warns on legacy tech
* Macquarie upgrade drives Cairn Energy higher
* Short seller targets Paysafe
By Helen Reid
LONDON, May 22 The pound's retreat below $1.30
helped Britain's main share index outperform European benchmarks
on Monday, while individual broker updates sent some stocks
Sterling fell after two polls on the weekend showed Prime
Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservative party losing ground
after parts of its election manifesto came under fire. The pound
had risen in the last month as some expected a landslide win
would allow for smoother exit negotiations with the European
Along with strength in commodities stocks, the weaker pound
propelled the mainly foreign-earning FTSE 100 to a 0.4
percent gain, holding near record high levels hit last week, and
easily outperforming the Euro zone STOXX 600 which
fell 0.2 percent.
Strong metals prices helped miners Anglo American,
Fresnillo, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto
up to the top of the index, gaining 1 to 1.3 percent.
While merger activity drove European shares, broker updates
fuelled the biggest moves among British stocks.
Micro Focus fell 3.1 percent, the top FTSE faller
after Credit Suisse research into legacy technology led them to
downgrade the firm.
The bank's survey of 100 CIOs found the industry was moving
away from COBOL, a programming language widely used in business
and finance, and the base for some Micro Focus tools and
"Just as investors finally seem to have accepted
management's view that legacy assets are sticky, we think the
risks to this model are starting to materialise," said analysts
at the Swiss bank.
Testing company Intertek jumped to a record high
after Kepler Cheuvreux upgraded it to a 'buy' in a note
predicting an inflection in the cycle for the sector.
"Strategic initiatives are delivering quick results,
allowing Intertek to free up cash that CEO André Lacroix has
promised to redeploy into earnings-accretive acquisitions,"
Paddy Power Betfair gained 1.9 percent after Credit
Suisse upgraded it to neutral, assessing companies' exposure to
regulatory risks from the UK government's review of gambling
Analysts said the outlook for 2018 looked better for PPB,
flagging Australia as 'the key regulatory threat'.
Among mid-caps, Cairn Energy benefited from a target
price upgrade from Macquarie.
"We recommend buying the shares ahead of share price
appreciation associated with Senegal progress and commencement
of cash flow generation in the UK North Sea," analysts said.
Paysafe fell 3 percent after anonymous short-seller
outfit Spotlight Research targeted the company again, with two
The firm's shares had plummeted 40 percent in December after
an initial report from the short seller. They've since recovered
and hit an 11-year high on Friday.
Miners Ferrexpo and Kaz Minerals
underpinned a 0.3 percent gain on the mid-cap index as well.
(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)