U.K. stocks struggled just above the flat line on Thursday, supported by gains for International Hotel Group and Mitchells & Butlers after a positive analyst note, while shares of Vivo Energy soared on news of a $2.3 billion takeover.
Weighing on the downside were resource stocks, with energy giant Royal Dutch Shell RDSA, -0.94% RDS.A, +0.36% fell 0.8%, while miners Rio Tinto RIO, -0.14% RIO, -0.73% and Glencore GLEN, -0.91% fell 1% each.
Oil prices CL00, -0.40% BRN00, -0.14% finished slightly lower on Wednesday as U.S. inventories rose and traders waited for a response from OPEC and its allies to a U.S. reserve release earlier this week.
U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, and will reopen on Friday for a shortened session.
International Hotels Group IHG, -0.58% IHG, +3.00% led the FTSE 100 gainers, up 2.7% after a double upgrade to buy from analysts at Jefferies, where a team led by James Wheatcroft predicting pent-up demand will lead to more investor attention on leisure. “Encouraging data puts the focus on hotels for 2022,” he said, adding that they also remain positive on the gaming sector.
As well, the analysts expect “low-ticket, highly accessible leisure activities such as pubs, restaurants , cinemas and caterers to bounceback rapidly as the backdrop normalizes, boosted by market share gains. Whitbread WTB, +2.05%, Cineworld CINE, -1.86% and JD Wetherspoon JDW, -0.22%, Mitchells & Butlers MAB, +2.80% are all rated buy at Jefferies.
Mitchells & Butlers shares rose 4% and Whitbread rose 2%. Cineworld shares slipped 1% and JD Wetherspoon was unchanged. The group also lifted Melia Hotels International MEL, +4.41% in Spain to buy, and those shares rose 4.6%.
On the FTSE 250 MCX, +0.34%, shares of Vivo Energy VVO, +19.21% surged nearly 20% after the Africa-focused retailer and distributor of fuels and lubricants agreed to a $2.3 billion takeover by VIP II Blue B.V., a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of Vitol Investment Partnership II Ltd, independent energy marketing and trading company.