European Stocks Lose Momentum but Remain Higher

LONDON ( The Deal) -- The rally on European markets was beginning to fade Friday morning although most markets were still in positive territory with many relying on defensive stocks in the health care and resources sectors to keep the mood alive as tensions in the Middle East continue to rage.

In London, TSB Banking Group jumped from an IPO price of 260 pence to nearly 300 pence a share in its first day of conditional, informal trading on Friday, after the Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) spinoff met with stronger than expected demand from investors. Lloyds was originally planning to sell a 27.5% stake in the 613 branches it has been forced to dispose of in return for its government bailout during the financial crisis. But it ended up putting a total of 38.5% on the market, creating a new challenger on the British retail banking market with an initial market capitalization of $2.2 billion. Lloyds own stock was down 0.52% at 77 pence.

TSB is not yet in any index, but the FTSE 100 was up 0.29% at 6,828, led by Irish pharmaceuticals heavyweight Shire, which said it had rejected a revised approach from Chicago rival AbbVie (ABBV). AbbVie's proposal of 46.11 pounds a share is 44% cash and 56% in the U.S. bidder's paper and values the Dublin drugmaker's equity at about $46 billion. Shire was up over 11% by late morning.

British drinks group Diageo (DEO) rose slightly on news it has won control of India's United Spirits after years of delay. Diageo increased its stake in the Mumbai-listed target from 28% to 55% with a $1.9 billion general offer.

In Paris, French engineering group Alstom was up o.7% at 27.9 euros after confirming that its board would meet before Monday to consider the rival, improved bids from General Electric (GE) and a consortium of Siemens (SI) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Both sides have stepped up their efforts to woo both Alstom and the French government, which wants Alstom to remain as much as possible in French hands.

 

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