European Indexes Move Higher
The FTSE 100 climbs at mid-session, helped by M&A talk in the mining sector and indications of a positive open on Wall Street after yesterday's losses. General Electric reports 4Q profit in line with forecasts, powered by demand for jet engines and turbines. IBM says 2008 earnings will beat the Street. Data-wise, the University of Michigan sentiment and leading indicators are due. US President George W. Bush is expected to speak later in the day on measures to boost the US economy. Oil hovers around US$90 a barrel as fears of a US recession intensify. Back home, UK retail sales for December are lower than expected. In M&A, RIO TINTO (+5.67%) benefits from market speculation BHP BILLITON (+1.78%) will come up with a higher bid. BHP had offered 3.58 shares and AUD16.50 for each Rio Tinto share. Among energy firms, BRITISH ENERGY (+3.46%) says it will incur GBP50m to fix four reactors. Staying with the sector, CENTRICA's (+2.07%) British Gas is raising gas, power prices by 15% each. But SSE (+1.31%) will not raise prices until the start of British summer time, it says. Elsewhere, CARPHONE WAREHOUSE (+3.20%) rings up an 11% rise in 3Q connections - but falls short of expectations of a 15% rise. The mobile phone retailer keeps its FY outlook unchanged. Nightclub company LUMINAR (-2.45%) says it is confident that FY PTP should be within the current market forecast range.
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