April 25, 2014 9:26 am

Wary investors push European stocks lower

European equities moved lower on Friday on resurgent fears over Ukraine, with Russia staging fresh military exercises on its border and Kiev sending its army to flush out armed pro-Russia rebels in the east.

The FTSE 100 in London was off 0.3 per cent or 20 points at 6,682, while the FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.4 per cent or 6 points at 1,337.

Pearson, owner of the Financial Times, was top of the FTSE 100 after it said it was on track to meet its profit targets for the year in spite of the strong pound’s negative impact in the UK. Shares gained 2.4 per cent to £10.75.

William Hill was also among the biggest risers on the FTSE – up 1.3 per cent at 337.5p – after reporting “outstanding growth” in its online sportsbook in the first quarter, with turnover up 39 per cent and mobile up 78 per cent.

Shire had been the biggest riser at the open, up more than 2 per cent on a Reuters report that it had rebuffed a takeover approach from the Botox maker Allergan. Shares in the drugs group were 0.3 per cent higher at £32.58 after an hour of trade.

Tate & Lyle was top of the FTSE 250 – up 3.4 per cent at 692p – on rumours that the food company Bunge could launch a takeover bid.

In Paris, Kering gained 2.2 per cent to €156.75 after the luxury goods maker reported like-for-like sales rose 6.3 per cent in its latest quarter, despite a sluggish performance from Gucci.

Renault fell 1.5 per cent at €71.93 after the carmaker reported first-quarter revenues were hit by the euro’s strength.

In Frankfurt, tyremaker Continental led the Dax fallers – down nearly 3 per cent at €169.45 – after delivering an upbeat outlook that nevertheless fell short of some analysts’ estimates.

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