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The Deal: European Stocks Rise Slightly, Banks Get Good News

LONDON (TheStreet) -- The main European markets rose  a little Monday, partly on hopes that last Friday's poor U.S. jobs figures will give the Federal Reserve reason to slow its taper program over the coming months and partly on better news  for the big international banks. Global banking regulators in Switzerland have given some ground on leverage ratios as they negotiate the so-called Basel III reforms.
 
British department store Debenhams, which has been struggling after disastrous Christmas sales, was up over 4% by mid-morning, on news of a surprise 4.6% stake purchase by Sports Direct, U.K.'s biggest sports retailer. Sports Direct, with a pile 'em high sell 'em cheap philosophy, said it wanted to work together with Debenhams to help it improve performance. Debenhams said it would keep an open mind about working with Sports Direct.
 
Meanwhile, Britain's No. 4 supermarket, Wm. Morrison, which also had a poor Christmas, was the morning's biggest riser, after a Sunday newspaper report said it could opt to sell and lease-back some of its real estate and raise up to $1.3 billion.
 
Engineering and consultancy group Amec was up nearly 1.7%, after announcing acquisition of U.K.. and U.S. engineering group Foster Wheeler (FWLT) for $3.2 billion in cash and shares. Amec hopes the deal will bolster its order book, widen its geographical footprint -- particularly in Latin America and other developing countries -- and foresees cash synergies of at least $75 million a year.
 
In Paris, where a rise was driven by a stronger outlook for the auto industry, drugmaker Sanofi agreed to pay $700 million for access to drugs developed by Cambridge, Mass., biotech Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) and a 12% stake in the company, expanding its investments in treatments for rare genetic diseases. Sanof's share fell 1.55% to 72.86.
 
In London,  the FTSE 100 was up 0.10% at 6,747, while in Paris, the CAC40 was up 0.26% at 4,261. Frankfurt's DAX index was up 3.7% at 9,508, with the German banks leading the way.
 
Meanwhile in Asia, Tokyo was closed for a holiday on Monday.
 
But Indonesia's market jumped on news that a government ban on exports of unprocessed minerals would be less restrictive than previously feared. Indonesia is the world's largest producer of nickel, but the government wants to build up processing capacity at home rather than export only low margin raw materials. The main impact of the ban is in the commodities markets, where it has pushed the price of nickel up on the London market this morning, as well as boosting copper and silver. But in equities Jakarta rose 3.2% on the day.
 
In Sydney, Australian telecoms  group Telstra said it sold 70% of its Sensis directories business to private-equity house Platinum Equity for A$454 million. It's the latest in a series of disposals as the  company focuses on its core business. But the move doesn't  seem to have helped the company's share, as it was down 0.19% at the end of the day's trading at A$5.25.

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