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UPDATE 1-Britain's FTSE edges up; Old Mutual jumps after unit sale
December 19, 2017 / 5:13 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Britain's FTSE edges up; Old Mutual jumps after unit sale

(Adds details, closing prices)

By Julien Ponthus

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - UK shares edged up slightly on Tuesday with Anglo-South African financial services group Old Mutual leading the index after it sold its Buxton UK wealth business for $800 million.

The FTSE 100 ended up 0.1 percent, while the pan-European STOXX 600’s fell 0.4 percent.

World markets are waiting for U.S. lawmakers to pass sweeping tax legislation, expectations of which pushed Wall Street to new record closing highs with investors betting on a boost on profits, share buybacks and higher dividend payouts.

Old Mutual was among the biggest gainers, up as much as 6.1 percent after it sold its UK wealth business, run by veteran fund manager Richard Buxton, to private equity firm TA Associates for 600 million pounds ($803 million).

The company, which started as an insurance company in Cape Town in 1845, has decided to break itself up as regulatory constraints make the company complex to run in its current form.

The healthcare sector contributed the most to gains of the FTSE. Share in Shire suddenly spiked to end up 3.8 percent, reversing earlier weakness that followed a disappointing trial update for one of its drugs.

London-listed spreadbetters IG Group and CMC Market which plunged during the previous session after regulatory threats to parts of their business, ended up 1.7 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

Acacia Mining declined 1.2 percent after it said it would sell its 2 percent royalty over the Houndé Mine in Burkina Faso for $45 million to Sandstorm Gold Ltd SSL.TO.

British drugmaker Indivior, which makes drugs that treat opioid addiction, rose 1.9 percent, after announcing operations to amend and extend debt facilities.

In the world of small market capitalisation, price comparison website operator GoCompare.Com rose 4 percent after it agreed to buy The Global Voucher Group, which operates MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, and its units for 36.5 million pounds in cash. (Reporting by Julien Ponthus, additional reporting by Danilo Masoni, Editing by Jeremy Gaunt and Toby Davis)

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