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FTSE jumps on bid activity; Pfizer calls time on Astra

FTSE jumps on bid activity; Pfizer calls time on Astra

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has helped to drive the FTSE 100 higher after reports it had rejected a secret £6 billion US takeover bid.

InterContinental jumped 125p, or 5.6%, to £23.51 on the Sky News report, which claimed the bid, from an unidentified source, had been rejected as too low. Sky said the hotel group, the FTSE 100's biggest riser this morning, was braced for the bidder to return.

The FTSE 100 rose 21 points, or 0.3%, to 6,837, helped too by elections in the Ukraine that passed without escalation of political tensions, and European election results that showed fringe parties would remain a clear minority in the European Union parliament.

AstraZeneca (AZN) was meanwhile the FTSE 100's biggest faller as US rival Pfizer announced it had abandoned its bid for the pharmaceutical giant. Pfizer had a deadline of Monday evening to make a further approach after a series of bids for AstraZeneca had failed.

It said in a statement: 'Following the AstraZeneca board's rejection of the proposal, Pfizer announces that it does not intend to make an offer.'

AstraZeneca chairman Leif Johansson said: 'We welcome the opportunity to continue building on the momentum we have already demonstrated as an independent company.' AstraZeneca shares fell 95p, or 2.2%, to £42.34 on the news.

FTSE 250 stock Aveva Group (AVV) jumped a huge 23p, or 11.1%, to £24.00 after the company, which supplies IT services to the oil and gas sector, announced better-than-expected results. Ophir Energy (OPHR) was meanwhile the biggest mid cap faller, shedding 16.1p, or 6.2%, after the oil and gas group announced disappointing results from a drilling exercise off the shore of Gabon. 'The prospect could have been worth 60p if successful; there may have been 10p to 20p in the price,' said analysts at Liberum.

Debt-ridden FTSE Small Cap stock Punch Taverns (PUB) plunged 26% to 10.8p after announcing a restructuring of its debt. It is the second round of restructuring for the troubled pub owner, which is looking to reduce £2.3 billion of debt built up before it was hit hard by the downturn.

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