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Ashmore, AstraZeneca, F&C, Punch: U.K., Irish Equity Preview

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The following is a list of companies whose shares may have unusual price changes in U.K. and Irish markets. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are from the last market close.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index retreated 1.06, or less than 0.1 percent, to 5,881.12. Futures on the index rose 0.1 percent to 5,887.5 as of 7:32 a.m. in London. The FTSE All-Share Index also fell less than 0.1 percent yesterday, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index rose 0.3 percent.

Allied Irish Banks Plc (ALBK ID) and Bank of Ireland Plc (BKIR ID): Ireland’s credit rating was cut five levels by Moody’s Investors Service after the government last month was forced to ask for external aid. Allied Irish lost 2.4 percent to 46 cents. Bank of Ireland dropped 5.1 percent to 37 cents.

Ashmore Group Plc (ASHM LN): Ashmore Investment Management Ltd. won U.S. regulatory approval to offer five mutual funds that invest in emerging-market assets, the London-based company, which is part of Ashmore Group Plc, said. The shares fell 1.4 percent to 346.7 pence.

AstraZeneca Plc (AZN LN): The drugmaker failed to win U.S. approval for Brilinta, a new blood thinner to rival Plavix, the world’s second-best selling drug. The shares rose 0.1 percent to 3,153 pence.

F&C Asset Management Plc (FCAM LN): The company that oversees the U.K.’s oldest investment fund said it received a request from Sherborne Investors GP to hold a general meeting of the company’s shareholders to consider the removal of F&C’s chairman and another director. A notice will be sent by Jan. 6, F&C said. The stock declined 0.5 percent to 74.4 pence.

Hunting Plc (HTG LN): The company said trading operations remain “on track” to deliver results in line with current market expectations. The shares dropped 1.4 percent to 710 pence.

International Power Plc (IPR LN): Shareholders approved a tie-up with GDF Suez SA, creating the world’s second-biggest power producer with plants from Brazil to Australia. The shares rose 0.7 percent to 426.5 pence.

Punch Taverns Plc (PUB LN): The pub operator said it’s on track to meet its forecasts for the full year after “improved trading momentum” in the fourth quarter continued and as it conducted a “comprehensive” review of its business. The shares lost 1 percent to 66.65 pence.

Travis Perkins Plc (TPK LN): The U.K.’s biggest building merchant confirmed that Gavin Slark, former chief executive officer of BSS Group, and Roddy Murray, former finance director of BSS, have decided to leave now that the acquisition is complete. The stock advanced 1.4 percent to 1,010 pence.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blanche Gatt in London at bgatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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