European Stocks Fall on Increased Tensions in Ukraine, the Middle East

LONDON ( The Deal) -- European markets followed New York and Asia down Friday, as investors took stock of increased geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East. Both the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines plane over Eastern Ukraine with 298 people on board and Israel's invasion of Gaza served to spook traders.

European markets fell across the board. By mid-morning, London's FTSE 100 was down 0.47% at 6,707, while in Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.08% at 4,313, In Frankfurt, the DAX was off 0.75% at 9,681.09. At lunchtime in Moscow, the MICEX was off 1.32% at 1,421. The Russian market has been falling all week as the prospect of yet more sanctions looms.

In London, private-equity backed private hospitals operator Spire Healthcare Group priced its initial public offering at the bottom of its book-building range at 210 pence a share. Private-equity owner Cinven sold 100,000 shares into the IPO while the company sold 150 million new shares, raising gross proceeds of 315 million pounds ($539 million) for an opening market capitalization of 842.3 million pounds ($1.44 billion). But by mid-morning, in conditional trading, the share was stuck at its opening price of 210 pence.

One London stock that did soar was pharmaceuticals group Shire (SHPG), which rose 2.10% to 4,907 pence after agreeing to a cash-and-shares offer from Chicago pharma peer AbbVie (ABBV) that valued the company's stock at 32 billion pounds ($54.7 billion). Shire shareholders will hold 25% of the combined company following the merger, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.

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