LONDON (TheDeal) -- Europe's markets rose gently Friday, unspooked by fears of any loss of power during this morning's spectacular solar eclipse. Even the continuing impasse over the Greek bailout -- which sent yields rising dramatically on Greek debt -- failed to dampen enthusiasm for European stocks.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.06% at 6,966.16, while in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.14% at 5,044.4. In Frankfurt, the DAX was up 0.6% at 11,959.09. In Madrid, the IBEX 35 was up 0.37% at 11,132.4. In Athens, the ASX General Index was up 2.98% at 745.25, despite continued failure to agree at a European Union summit meeting in Brussels.
London was buoyed by news that TSB Banking (TSBBY) has agreed to be bought by Spanish lender Banco de Sabadell (BNDSY) for £1.7 billion ($2.5 billion), and that Lloyds Banking(LYG) - Get Report has agreed to sell its 50% share in the business if the deal goes ahead. TSB was up 1.85% at 333 pence a share, still 7 pence below the 340 pence on offer from Sabadell. Lloyds was also up 0.1% at 79.58 pence. Sabadell, which is hoping to benefit from Britain's healthy retail banking climate, was up 2.58% at €2.26.
Scottish rail and bus operatorFirstGroup (FGROY) , which runs the First Student network of school buses in the U.S., was up a none-too-spectacular 0.65% at 93.55 pence on news that it has won a one-year extension to its license to run the East -West TransPennine railway in Northern England.
But Alliance Trust (ALITF) , one Britain's most venerable investment houses, was down 0.1% at 523.00 pence as it urged its shareholders to vote against a push from activist investor Elliott Advisers to put directors on its board.
In Paris, Lafarge (LFRGY) was up 3.15% at €64.26 after reaching an agreement to alter the terms of its €41 billion merger with Switzerland's Holcim (HCMLY) to create the world's largest cement company. Instead of a 1:1 share swap, Lafarge will now pay 10 shares for every 9 shares from Holcim, and Lafarge chief Executive Bruno Lafont will join Holcim's Wolfgang Reitzle as co-chairman instead of taking the CEO role at the merged group.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 ended the day up 0.43% at 19,560.22, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.38% to 24,376.24. China's Shanghai Composite index finished up 0.98% at 3,617.32.