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The Deal: Stocks in London, Paris Rise; Asian Shares Gain

LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets seemed ready to build on a generally upbeat pre-Christmas mood Tuesday, as both Paris and London edged up ahead of an early close.
 
In London, British Land's stock rose a relatively unexciting 0.64% after New York buyout firm Blackstone (BX) sold its 50% stake in their joint venture Broadgate estate in Central London to Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. The deal for a reported 1.7 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) is one of the largest in Europe since the credit crunch. The Swiss bank, UBS, is Broadgate's largest tenant.
 
London's biggest riser was cable TV, broadband and telephony provider British Sky Broadcasting, which announced a $350,000 equity investment in Palo Alto video capture technology and display venture Jaunt, saying the deal will provide additional insight into developments in the sector.
 
But troubled pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond Holdings, listed on London's junior AIM market, lost 5% when it announced talks with private-equity restructuring firm Better Capital had been broken off. It said it was still in talks with other parties and the formal sales process was ongoing.
 
Meanwhile in Paris, the CAC40 was up for the fifth day in a row, largely following the strength of Wall Street Monday and a general feel-good factor about the global economy in recent days.
 
In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite climbed after several straight days of losses, when the People's Bank of China injected Rmb29 billion ($4.8 billion) into the financial system. The central bank's move helped reduce fears over a peak in Chinese interbank lending rates. Banks had been charging each other more than 9% to borrow cash in recent sessions. But it's not clear the move will be enough to keep confidence up for long.
 
While Frankfurt and Madrid were already closed for the holiday, Paris was up 0.25% at 4,226 by late morning, while in London the FTSE 100 was up over 0.4% at 6,708.
 
And in Japan, the Nikkei 225 hit a six-year high of 16,029, before closing at 15,889.13, up 0.12% on the day. Japan's confidence, like Europe's, was based in part on the strength of the U.S. economy as well as the assurances. But there's also optimism about Japan's own economy. The Cabinet Office has dropped the word "deflation" from its monthly review of the economy for the first time, even though it still talks about recovery at a moderate pace.

-- Written by Jonathan Braude
 

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