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The Deal: European Stocks Rise as Crimea Votes for Independence

LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets -- including Russia's -- recovered their poise in morning trading on Monday, as the fear that Crimea would vote to secede from Ukraine and join Russia became a certainty. Moscow's Micex Composite, which had a bad week last week, was up 1.43%. Paris, Bonn and London managed more modest rises. The markets are still cautious in the face of the risk that Russian President Vladimir Putin might choose to escalate the situation in the face of Western sanctions, but so far the mood is calm.

Business goes on, whatever the threat of sanctions. This morning Russian oil company Rosneft announced it is taking a stake in Camfin, a vehicle which holds a dominant 26% share in Italian tire company Pirelli. Rosneft is buying the shares from Italian private-equity firm Clessidra, which invested in 2013. Pirelli was down 1.99% at 11.80 euros a share in Milan.

And in Frankfurt, German utility RWE rose about 1.55% to 28.5 euros on the sale of its oil and gas exploration unit RWE Dea to LetterOne, an investment vehicle of Russia's Alfa Group, for an enterprise value of 5.1 billion euros, or $7 billion.

In London, telecoms giant Vodafone (VOD) rose just over 1% to 224.4 pence on news that it has agreed to buy Spanish cable company Grupo Cooperativo ONO for 7.2 billion euros ($10 billion) from a consortium of private-equity firms including Providence Equity Partners, Thomas H. Lee, CCMP Capital and Quadrangle Capital. Vodafone said it foresaw 240 million euros a year in synergies from the deal and the opportunity for continued growth in the Spanish market.

Construction, building supplies and property also took the London market upwards this morning, with housebuilder Persimmon topping the leader board, up 6.2% at 1,392 pence. That was partly on an announcement at the weekend that the government plans to extend a scheme to help first-time housebuyers and part on news from online real estate agent Rightmove of record asking prices.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.42% 6,556, in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.74% at 4,248 and in Frankfurt, the DAX rose 0.54% to 9,105.54.

Asian  markets were less sanguine overnight, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 down 0.35% at 14,227 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 0.3% at 21,473.95. But in China where there are relatively few international traders and the government announced it was widening the band in which the local currency, the renminbi or yuan, can trade against the dollar, the Shanghai composite closed up 0.95% at 2,023.67.

 

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