Strong earnings, Vectura boost British midcaps

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

(Reuters) – London’s edged higher on Wednesday, boosted by Marks & Spencer and Softcat Plc following positive earnings updates, while Vectura Group topped the mid-cap index after agreeing a takeover by The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:).

The domestically focused mid-cap index advanced 0.5%. Vectura Group surged 31.1% and was on track for its best day on record after the pharmaceutical company focused on inhaled medicines agreed a 958 million pound ($1.36 billion) takeover by global investment firm The Carlyle Group.

Marks & Spencer added 5% after the retailer posted a full-year pretax profit before one-off items of 50.3 million pounds, versus analysts’ average forecast of 43 million pounds.

The blue-chip rose 0.2%, with specialty chemical maker Croda International climbing 2.6% after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) upgraded the stock to “buy” from “sell”.

Softcat added 4.3% as Jefferies raised its price target on the stock after the IT services and consulting firm said it continued to trade well during the third quarter.

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