Sun, Apr 01, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Main markets in Europe end week on a mixed note

AFP , LONDON

Europe's main stock markets ended the week on a mixed note, with London trading weighed down by disappointing domestic corporate news, dealers said.

The FTSE 100 slid 0.26 percent to 6,308 points while in Paris the CAC 40 was essentially unchanged at 5,634.16 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index of leading shares added 0.29 percent to 6,917.03 points, helped by a jump in the share price of Commerzbank.

The DJ Euro STOXX 50 index of eurozone blue-chip shares was flat at 4,181.03 points, while the euro stood at 1.3373 dollars.

In London stock trading, the share price of life insurer Resolution led the blue-chip casualties, tumbling 4.17 percent to £6.2050 after the group said talks with various parties over its possible sale had been terminated.

Resolution said it would continue to assess possible acquisitions and business combinations that would not constitute an offer for the company.

Vodafone shares gave up 4.31 percent to £1.3550 after the telecommunications operator warned that conditions in the British domestic market were deteriorating rapidly.

Even Alliance Boots ended up slipping 0.05 percent to £10.265, despite the fact that Europe's biggest pharmacy chain received an increased offer from US investment group KKR worth £10.06 billion (US$19.61 billion) in cash.

KKR, which is tabling a joint bid with Alliance Boots' executive deputy chairman Stefano Pessina, has offered £10.40 per share, and the market reckoned the company would likely accept the offer.

British Airways meanwhile slumped 1.73 percent to £4.8881, hurt by the prospect of higher fuel costs. BA said it might sell its 10 percent stake in Spanish national carrier Iberia, which received a request for information from US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group which is considering a takeover bid.

Iberia signalled last week it was ready to look at a merger, amid expected consolidation of the industry following an EU-US deal to open up transatlantic air travel.

A potential TPG bid was believed to value Iberia at 3.60 euros a share.

The Spanish airline lost 0.25 percent at 3.99 euros in Madrid, while the IBEX-35 index added 0.25 percent to 14,641.70 points.

Elswhere Man Group, the world's biggest listed hedge fund, lost 1.77 percent to £5.55 in London after an expected announcement to demerge its brokerage unit, Man Financial, and list it on the New York Stock Exchange.

In Amsterdam, the AEX index fell back 0.26 percent to 510.50 points, the Swiss SMI was flat at 8,976.99, in Milan the SP/MIB was also unchanged at 41,771 and in Brussels the BEL-20 closed 0.49 percent lower at 4,471.65.

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