The Deal: European Stocks Rise; Lloyds Slips as U.K. Government Sells Stake

LONDON (The Deal) -- European bourses rose gently in morning trading on Wednesday, as the crisis in Crimea began to fade into the background, despite continued speculation around the real effects of sanctions and about Russia's next moves. Even Russia's Micex Composite index was up for the second day, rising 0.38% to 1,329.52 in late morning trading. In Germany, the Western European nation most keenly aware of events in Ukraine, Frankfurt's DAX index was the biggest riser in the region. It was up 1.01% at 9,433.09.

In London, the market was up a more modest 0.47% at 6,636, dragged down in part by Lloyds Banking (LYG). Lloyds saw its shares fall 4.01% to 75.94 pence following the announcement that the British government sold nearly 8% of the company for 4.2 billion pounds, or just shy of $7 billion, at 75.5 pence a share.

On the upside, however, insurer Standard Life was up 5.3%, after confirming the two day-old news of its acquisition of fund manager Ignis for 390 million pounds, or $644 million, while its rival Legal & General rose 2.9% to 215.7 pence, after it reached a $5 billion bulk annuity deal to manage part of the ICI pension fund, one of the largest U.K. industrial pension funds.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei Index closed up 0.37% at 14,477.16 and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed up 0.72% at 21,887.

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