ASOS surges as UK's FTSE hovers near 1-month high

Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:17am EDT

* FTSE 100 edges up 0.1 pct

* ASOS surges on media reports of bid interest

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Britain's top equity index steadied near one-month highs on Wednesday, with online retailer ASOS jumping on speculation it could be a takeover target.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 crept higher by 0.1 percent, or 6.70 points, to 6,829.46 points by the middle of the trading day.

ASOS, whose shares have been hammered this year by a profit warning and a warehouse fire in June, surged 13.5 percent to 2,665 pence after British newspapers reported it could be a bid target.

ASOS officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the report, and ASOS' shares remain down by nearly 60 percent since the start of 2014 despite Wednesday's move higher.

The FTSE 100 has risen some 4.5 percent over the past 2-1/2 weeks, boosted by speculation that the European Central Bank could unveil new stimulus measures to shore up the euro zone's struggling economy.

"There's a lot of confidence returning to market with the ECB," IG strategist Chris Beauchamp said.

The FTSE 100 hit a peak this year at 6,894.88 points in mid-May, which marked its highest level since December 1999.

JNF Capital trader Rick Jones said any near-term moves higher could hit a barrier around the 6,840-6,850 point level, but added that he expected the FTSE 100 to test record levels around the 7,000 point mark by the end of 2014.

"We expect the market to test all-time highs later this year," he said. (Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alison Williams)

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