European Midday Update: Stocks Trade Higher on Merger Mania

The Time Warner/EMI deal and Clariant's bid for BTP are nudging London's FTSE higher.
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LONDON -- Nothing like a good merger to get the week off to a rollicking start.

In London, leading shares were trading sharply higher, as the market braces itself -- or is it just wishful thinking? -- for further takeover activity in the wake of this morning's merger announcement of

EMI

and

Time Warner's

(TWX)

Warner Music

, and of Swiss company

Clariant's

bid for U.K. chemical firm

BTP

.

By 11:30 GMT, the

FTSE 100

was up 86.90, or 1.37%, at 6,433.20.

EMI's share price jumped to 820 pence in early dealings Monday, but by 11:30 was trading up 57, or 8.8%, at 705 pence. BTP gained 60, or 11.4%, to 587 1/2 pence in the wake of Clariant's offer.

As is often the case, news such as the EMI/Warner Music tie-up gets everyone all in tizzy, and old and new merger activity starts making the rounds. Investors are expecting a bid from entrepreneur

Philip Green

for

Marks & Spencer

, and there are reports that

Scottish & Southern Energy

is seeking a merger with

United Utilities

.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

and

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

are still at each other's throats, with the latter reportedly set to launch a bid for the U.K.'s

Energis

(ENGSY)

if it is successful in fending off Vodafone.

Mannesmann shares were slightly higher at 267.40 euros after the newspaper report. Energis was up 149, or 5.3%, at 2983 pence, and Vodafone was up 5.5, or 1.7%, at 335.8 pence.

The major continental European bourses were all in the plus column. With some diverse earnings results out, however, stocks tended to follow their own path instead of moving with the entire sector. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up nearly 1% at 7055.19 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 1.36% higher at 5758.34.

German tech heavyweight

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

issued a first-quarter profit warning early Monday, much to the chagrin of shareholders. The stock paid the price and dropped around 5%, but by midday it was off only 1% at 716.50 euros.

The profit warning didn't cause too much consternation to one Frankfurt-based fund manager, who is long SAP.

"Even with the new employee stock incentive program, I'm sure you'll see SAP shares do quite well this year after everything is said and done," he said.

On the other side of the earnings merry-go-round, electronics giant

Siemens

(SMAWY)

was more than 5% higher at 144.10 euros, after the company announced better-than-expected first-quarter results.