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European, Asian Stocks Shrug Off Gloom


LONDON ( The Deal) -- European and Asian markets shrugged off last week's geopolitical gloom on Monday, as Russia appeared to step back from the brink over Ukraine and on hopes that U.S. airstrikes in Iraq may have slowed the advance of Islamist rebels there. A renewed three-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza also played a part.

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In London, construction services and infrastructure group Balfour Beatty (BAFYY) rose 1.3% to 240.30 pence a share after rejecting a renewed approach from its smaller rival Carillion (CIOIF) -- which in turn rose 1.25% to 324.70 pence. Balfour said it's still unhappy with Carillion's insistence on retaining New York consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff, which Balfour is in the process of selling. But Carillion hasn't yet ruled out the possibility of a hostile offer.

In Paris, French power generator Electricite de France fell 0.76% to €23.62, after announcing the shut-down of four U.K nuclear reactors. EdF, one of the biggest power groups on either side of the English Channel said a defect in the boiler spine at one of the four prompted what it called the conservative decision to shut others of the same design while it carries out further inspections. British energy group Centrica (CPYYY), which owns 20% of Edf U.K. nuclear operations, said the shut-down would shave about 0.3% off its earnings per share this year -- but its share price climbed 0.16% anyway to 308.4 pence.

In Germany, Lufthansa's (DLAKY) shares rose 2.01% to €12.41 ahead of results expected early this afternoon. Other German stocks, especially car industry chips that took a beating last week, were doing better this morning. BMW was up 2.28% at €88.36, Daimler (DDAIF) rose 1.67% to €60.26 and Volkswagen (VLKAY) was up 1.67% at €166.65. Volkswagen also announced a tie-up with recently floated British roadside rescue organization AA, which will provide assistance for all new Volkswagen cars and all the group's other brands across the U.K. and Europe under a four year contract. AA was up 1.43% at 248.5 pence.

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In late morning trading the FTSE 100 was up 0.60% at 6,066, while in Frankfurt, the DAX was up 1.47% at 9,142.01. In Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.79% at 4,180, while in Russia, Moscow's MICEX was up 1.38% at 1,366.84. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 2.38% at 15,130.52 and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was up 1.29% at 24,646.02.

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