LONDON (The Deal) -- European stocks started Tuesday in modestly negative territory following mixed action in Asia overnight. Worries over heightened tension in the Ukraine still simmered, but tech stocks bounced back fromMonday's selloff, with British chip designer ARM Holdings (ARMH) leading the pack in London, with a bounce back of over 1.3% and mobile phone maker Nokia (NOK) up 2.9% in Helsinki on news that China's regulators have approved its sale to Microsoft (MSFT), clearing the way for the merger to go ahead this month.
Even the news of a stronger than expected rise in U.K manufacturing in February failed to relieve the wider gloom in London, where financial advisers such as Hargreaves Lansdowne and St. James's Place fell following criticisms of their practices by the Financial Conduct Authority. And Sports Direct -- a pile 'em high sell 'em cheap retailer -- fell 6.6% to 834.5 pence on news that it's controversial founder Mike Ashley sold 200 million pounds ($334 million) of stock.
In Paris, there was speculation that the conglomerate Bouygues SA might sell France's No. 3 wireless services provider to Iliad SA, the No. 4, following its failure to buy Vivendi's SFR wireless at the weekend. That Plan B notion pushed Bouygues up 2.6% to 29.7 euros and Iliad up 1.2% to 201.0 euros. Also in Paris, the world's no. 2 supermarket chain Carrefour S , fell 2.2% to 28.5 euros on news that the Moulin family, which owns the department store Galleries Lafayette, has taken a 6.1% stake.