European stock indices are mixed heading into the weekend. A steeper-than-forecast decline in the closely watched Ifo gauge of German business confidence takes the index to its lowest point this year and ignites smouldering expectations that the ECB will act to spur on the euro zone economy next month. General Electric gives itself longer to convince the French government of the merits of its $15.6 billion bid for Alstom’s power assets and in London gone but not forgotten? Pfizer faces a Monday deadline to formally retract its $117 billion bid for AstraZeneca but most investors expect the New York Viagra producer to return.

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