- FTSE indices firmed in early deals with pharma heavyweight Shire (SHP) centre stage on confirmation it has rebuffed would-be romeo AbbVie Inc., while resources stocks were also in focus.

Approaching 9 a.m., the FTSE 100 was up 21.82 points, or 0.32%, to 6829.93, while the FTSE 250 was up 77.8 points, or 0.5%, to 15,761.7.

In the US overnight, an overall positive session saw the Dow gain 14 points to 16,921, while the Nasdaq fell 4 points to 4359, and the S&P500 added 2 points to 1959. In Asia today, the Nikkei retreated 12 points to 15,349, while the Hang Seng gained 47 points to 23,211.

Back in London, AbbVie Inc. noted media chatter and confirmed it had made an indicative approach to Shire with a merger proposal that was rejected. "There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made. Discussions are no longer ongoing," it said.

Shires' shares rose 12.71% to 4213p. It said the AbbVie proposal fundamentally undervalued the company and its prospects.

AbbVie's third and latest cash and share proposal when made represented an indicative offer of £46.26 a share. It has until July 18 to announce an offer or walk. AbbVie reserved the right to introduce other forms of consideration and/or vary the mix of consideration, and to make an offer at any time for less than the equivalent of £46.26 for each Shire share.

Among the resources issues on the rise were miners and oily stocks. Fresnillo (FRES) rose 2.16% to 853p, Randgold Resources (RRS) added 1.14% to 4788p, Cairn Energy (CNE) gained 0.66% to 206.65p and BP (BP.) edged up 0.51% to 518.35p. All were followed by sector pals.

Retail giant Debenhams (DEB) saw continued growth in its online sales in the 15 weeks to June 14, and a strong performance from international business. Its shares rose 1.91% to 73.48p.

Spectra Systems (SPSY), down 6.12% to 23p, has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by one of its shareholders and business partners and terminate the related royalty agreement for sales of certain banknote authentication materials.

Triad Group's (TRD) FY pretax profit more than halved to £11,000, from £28,000. Revenue was £19.7m, from £18.9m. The prior year's period benefitted from a £0.2m exceptional administrative credit. Its shares added 2.44% to 10.5p.


Reach4entertainment Enterprises (R4E), up 15.79% to 5.5p, has enjoyed a strong start to trading in the current financial year and is confident of meeting market expectations for the full year.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE), down 14.67% to 1.6p, announces a proposed oversubscribed placing and subscription of £6.5m. This initial financing will allow the company to begin the development of its Mancos and Paradox assets, which it expects will lead to initial production from the project during the first half of next year.

Bellzone Mining's (BZM) Forecariah JV in Guinea is in dispute with the contracted barge operator at the Konta port. The dispute is over issues raised by the JV's management on safety performance, efficiency of operations and charges raised by the trans-shipper. Shares in Bellzone responded, falling 13.56% to 2.55p.

FBD Holdings (FBH) has increased its estimate for winter weather claims by 4m euros, net of reinsurance. It says the total cost of weather claims last winter for FBD customers, gross of reinsurance, now stands at 44m euros. Shares in the outfit fell 10.74% to 15.13p.

Mosman Oil and Gas Ltd (MSMN), the New Zealand and Australia focussed oil exploration and development company, has raised about £3m via a placing of 13.0m new shares at 23p each. Its shares fell 10.69% to 29.25p. Funds raised will be used to increase the exploration programme at the Petroleum Creek Project in New Zealand.


UK public sector borrowing data is due at 9.30 a.m., while in the euro zone there are current account figures due at 9.00 a.m., and consumer confidence data at 3p.m.


Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY), up 0.1% to 77.48p, has priced the initial public offering of TSB at 260p per share giving it a market capitalisation of approximately £1,300m.

Online dating operator Cupid (CUP) has made significant progress in the first half of this year and losses will be lower than forecast, shareholders at the annual general meeting later today will be told. Its shares were flat at 41.25p.

Balfour Beatty (BBY), the international infrastructure group whose shares were up 1.52% to 239.9p, has reached financial close for phase one of the Texas A&M University student accommodation project valued at $104m. Story provided by