European Stocks Rise on Encouraging Earnings, Takeover Deals

LONDON ( The Deal) -- Markets in Europe opened on a positive note Monday, boosted by some encouraging company results and a few takeover deals in the pipeline.

However, outsourcing provider Serco  (SECCF) bucked the trend, dropping 31% to 217.5 pence a share after it announced a $2.4 billion write-down, and announced an $875 million equity raising. It cut its profit forecast, said it would not pay an end-of-year dividend and indicated it was preparing to begin discussions with its banks to loosen covenants. The company admitted it had diversified from its core competencies and spent too much on winning new business. 

Watch the video below for a closer look at how European markets are doing in midday trading Monday:

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But platinum miner Lonmin  (LNMIY) was up by 2.99% at 193.01 pence despite announcing a $326 million pretax loss, revenue down 37% and a sharp cut in capital expenditure, after a crippling five-month strike in South Africa earlier this year. The loss was in line with expectations, and the debt position significantly better than expected. Other miners also rose, helping to push up the resources-heavy FTSE 100.

Russia's VTB Bank rose 3.55% to $1.84 after a hint from its chairman Andrei Kostin, that it might pull its secondary listing from the London Stock Exchange because the British regulator is even stricter than the U.S. in its interpretation of sanctions.

Meanwhile in Paris, shares in Club Méditeranée rose on a report that Italian investor Bonomi has teamed with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts with a new bid for the holiday resorts operator. The share was up 3.16%, as the market looked forward to a new round in the bidding war with China's Fosun International, which made an offer of 839 million euros ($1.05 billion) in September.

In Belgium, chemicals group Solvay  (SVYZY) was up 1.67%  on rumors it has put its Fiber division, Acetow, up for sale for a possible $2 billion. In the Netherlands, feed company Nutreco  (NUTCF) climbed 14.88%. That was after investment group SHV NV lifted its bid to almost $3 billion because the target revealed a rival approach from U.S. grain giant Cargill, teamed with private-equity firm Permira.

Danish brewer Carlsberg  (CABGY) was up 2.36% after delivering earnings growth and increased cash flow despite difficult times in its Russian and Ukrainian markets.

Over in Asia, meanwhile, the Hong Kong and Shanghai markets surged on news that a previously delayed electronic link between them will now start operations on Nov. 17, allowing non-Chinese investors to invest in mainland China and vice versa. The biggest riser in Hong Kong was the listed operator of the exchange itself, Hong Kong Stock Exchanges & Clearing, which jumped 4.61%.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 6,587, while in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.48% at 4,210. In Germany, the DAX was up 0.33% at 9,322.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed up 0.83% at 23,744.7 after sliding at the end of the day. The Shanghai Composite closed up 2.27% at 2,473. 18, while in Japan the Nikkei 225 finished the day down 0.59% at 16,780.53.

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