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FTSE extends losing streak as AZ Electronic soars
by Chris Marshall on Dec 05, 2013 at 15:19
UPDATE: The FTSE 100 slipped towards its fifth consecutive day of losses, falling in line with other European indices, as investors sulked over central bank policy.
The European Central Bank failed to provide any further stimulus measures at its December policy meeting, after having cut rates last month.
And in the US, third quarter GDP was revised up to 3.6% from a previous estimate of 2.8%, giving investors reason to fret that ‘tapering’ of the Federal Reserve’s stimulus programme may come sooner than later.
Britain’s FTSE 100, down slightly at 6,507, looked set to end lower for a fifth day, which would be its longest losing streak since April.
UK financial markets were little moved by chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, in which he said the UK would run a budget surplus by 2018. The Bank of England, as expected, kept its monetary policy unchanged.
The pound fell against the US dollar, off 0.4% to $1.6310, but that probably better reflects US dollar strength rather than reaction to Osborne’s comments.
Of London shares, AZ Electronic Materials remained the day’s star performer: see morning report below.
Bid target AZ Electronics soars as FTSE flat-lines (09:40)
AZ Electronic Materials (AZEM.L) shone on otherwise apathetic financial markets, with shares shooting up 51% after a bid offer from German drug-maker Merck.
The huge gains for the maker of chemicals for microchips and displays for iPads contrasted with a flat FTSE 100.
AZ’s jump to 399p came after Merck made a cash offer of 403.5p for the company, representing a 53% premium to Wednesday's closing price. AZ's directors 'consider the terms of the offer to be fair and reasonable' they said.
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