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U.K. Stocks Little Changed Amid Ukraine Conflict Concern

July 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks were little changed, even as the shooting-down of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine heightened investor concern that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is intensifying.

Shire Plc rose 4 percent after Abbvie Inc. said it would buy the drugmaker for about 32 billion pounds ($54.8 billion). ITV Plc and British Sky Broadcasting Plc led media companies higher. Royal Bank of Scotland Plc lost 1.4 percent as an antitrust regulator said it may investigate the small-business lending sector for a lack of competition.

The FTSE 100 added 11.13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,749.45 at the close in London, extending its weekly gain to 0.9 percent. The broader FTSE All-Share Index increased 0.1 percent today, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.7 percent.

Ukraine’s government claimed pro-Russia rebels shot down the Malaysian Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. Russian President Vladimir Putin denied his country’s involvement.

Shire added 4 percent to 4,996 pence. Shire holders will receive cash and stock valued at 52.48 pounds a share, capping AbbVie’s 2 1/2-month pursuit of the Dublin-based drugmaker. The price is more than 50 percent above Shire’s closing level on May 2, before AbbVie made its first proposal to buy the company.

ITV rose 3.8 percent to 202.5 pence, extending its two-day gain to 10 percent after Liberty Global Plc bought a minority stake in the commercial broadcaster. BSkyB, which sold the stake in ITV, added 2.2 percent to 917.5 pence. A gauge of media-related companies on the FTSE 350 Index rose 1 percent.

RBS retreated 1.4 percent to 319.2 pence. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said the industry lacks competition and it may start an in-depth investigation into small-business lending and checking accounts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Trista Kelley in London at tkelley2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net Alan Soughley

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