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LONDON MARKETS: Shire Leads U.K. Market Higher On Takeover Speculation

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Stocks in the U.K. rose Tuesday, headed by Shire PLC on speculation the drug maker may land an acquisition offer, and the market held its ground after quarterly economic growth in the U.K. came in at a slower rate than anticipated. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.5% to 335.54, building on Monday's gain of 0.2% when another drug maker, AstraZeneca PLC, jumped 14% on indications Pfizer Inc. (PFE) may step up its takeover efforts. AstraZeneca shares on Tuesday were in the loss column, down 0.7%. But Shire climbed to the top of the FTSE's list of advancers, rising 3.9% in the wake of a Reuters report that Allergan Inc. (AGN) is getting ready to approach Shire again about a potential merger. Reports emerged last week that previous talks between Shire and Allergan about a tie-up didn't pan out. Botox maker Allergan itself is currently being pursued by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX) in partnership with activist investor William Ackman. A representative from Shire said the company doesn't comment on market speculation. London-listed stocks held steady after the U.K. Office for National Statistics said the economy grew by 0.8% in the first three months of the year, just shy of the 0.9% growth analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected. The quarterly rate was also lower than the Bank of England's estimate of 1%. Gross domestic product for the first quarter rose 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. The pound (GBPUSD) initially dropped against the U.S. dollar after the data, to $1.6799, from $1.685 earlier Tuesday and Monday's level around $1.6809. Britain's currency has since come off its lows to buy $1.6813. Shares of BP PLC (BP) were up 0.9% after the oil major raised its dividend to 9.75 cents a share from 9 cents a share last year. First-quarter production fell 8.5% to 2.13 million barrels of oil a day and revenue declined to $91.71 billion from $94.11 billion a year ago. More news from MarketWatch: FBI unit to help find pillaged foreign assets Cirrus Logic to buy Wolfson Microelectronics PLC Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Stock News for Bp (BP)
DateTimeHeadline
02/16/201717:39:00ADRs End Mixed; Vedanta Rises
02/16/201716:58:00ADRs End Mostly Up; Shire Trades Actively
02/09/201702:53:00BHP Billiton Board Signs Off on Investment in BP's Mad Dog Project
02/07/201712:02:00BP Needs Oil to Rise to $60 to Break Even -- 5th Update
02/07/201708:49:00BP Reports Another Annual Loss Amid Low Oil Prices -- 4th Update
02/07/201706:31:00BP Reports Another Annual Loss Amid Low Oil Prices -- 3rd Update
02/07/201704:18:00BP Earnings Fall for Second Consecutive Year -- Update
02/07/201703:02:00BP Earnings Fall for Second Consecutive Year
01/29/201707:29:00Oil Firms Plot Sharply Divergent Spending Paths
01/24/201702:59:00BP to Sell 25% of Magnus Oil Field, Associated Pipeline Infrastructure...
01/23/201710:33:00BP's Thunder Horse South Expansion Launches Ahead of Schedule...
01/20/201718:00:00ADRs End Higher; Airlines Rise
01/20/201710:09:00Higher Oil Prices Put Smiles on the Faces of Energy Executives...
01/20/201709:01:00Energy Executives at Davos Upbeat After Two-Year Price Rout
01/18/201717:36:00ADRs End Lower; Pearson Plummets
01/17/201717:47:00ADRs End Lower; Infosys Falls
01/17/201714:01:00Correction to BP CEO Story on Recent Deals
01/17/201707:25:00BP CEO: Recent Deals Reflect Disciplined Investment Strategy
01/17/201707:00:00Rex Energy Announces Two-Year Financial and Operational Plan...
01/09/201700:29:00Politico Veteran's News Venture Axios Aims to Fix Advertising

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