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European Stocks Stage a Mild Rebound

LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets staged a mild rebound Tuesday, partly in response to a slight reduction in oil prices and a hope that, for now, the renewed conflict in Iraq has been priced in.

In London, the market got a further boost from an unexpected fall in U.K. inflation to 1.5% for May, a four-year low. The news could take some pressure off the Bank of England to raise interest rates early, although the continued rapid rise in London house prices is still working the other way.

On the London market, hotel, restaurant and coffee shop group Whitbread was the biggest riser -- up over 3% at 4,294 pence after announcing that sales at outlets that have been open for over a year rose 6.9% in the 13 weeks to May 29. Underlying sales at its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee divisions were up 9.5% and 4.5%, respectively.

Pharmaceuticals company Shire also jumped over 3% after a report that it hired Citigroup as an adviser, in anticipation of takeover approaches.

Insurance company RSA is also reported to be looking at the sale of its Asian operations, for up to $500 million. Its shares were nearly 1.3 % higher on the news.

In Amsterdam, Dutch banking ING Groep (ING) rose 0.82% to 10.49 euros on news of its intention to float insurer NN Group bringing in Singapore government fund Temasek and other Asian investors as core shareholders for up to $2 billion. The IPO is the last part of the restructuring process mandated by the European Commission after ING's government bailout during the financial crisis.

Meanwhile in Paris, engineering group Alstom was down 1.77% at 28.81 euros, after a poorly received and complex offer from Germany's Siemens (SI) and its Japanese partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The deal was intended to counter a politically sensitive $17 billion bid from General Electric (GE).  GE will now have to decide whether to respond or leave Alstom, Siemens and MHI to sort out the mess that some analysts say French politics have driven them into.

However, in Frankfurt, Siemens shares were up 0.81% at 99.62 euros and the DAX index was up 0.6% at 9,942 by midday. In Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.25% at 4,521 and in London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.14% at 6,764.

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