European Indexes Post Modest Gains

A roundup of Friday's action on major European stock exchanges

London

The FTSE 100 closed in positive territory tracking Wall Street, which was off earlier lows, after Goldman Sachs raised its debt recommendation on Citigroup to 'outperform', offsetting higher-than-expected November CPI data. Local data showed euro-zone harmonised CPI rose 3.1% year-over-year in November vs 2.6% in October. WTI fell to US$91.45 a barrel. Among financials, Virgin Group was stripped of its preferred bidder status in the battle for NORTHERN ROCK (+7.09%) after rival Olivant threatened to walk away unless it was put on an equal footing with Sir Richard Branson's company, The Times wrote. HSBC (+0.48%) bought The Chinese Bank in Taiwan. Among top risers, RENTOKIL INITIAL (+3.76%) jumped on an Exane upgrade to outperform. In trading updates, CENTRICA (+1.51%) said market conditions have become more challenging in recent months as wholesale gas prices have risen. The energy company added that underlying pretax profit will be in line with expectations, but with a slightly increased effective tax rate. NORTHERN FOODS (+7.78%) said it will buy back up to 5% of its ordinary shares. 3I (-0.30%) said it has made a £2.25/sh recommended cash offer for Inspicio. YULE CATTO (+3.57%) said trading conditions in second half remain unchanged and expects results to meet market expectations.

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