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Murdoch bid for Time Warner gives markets a lift

First Published      Last Updated Jul 16 2014 09:27 am

London • Solid Chinese economic growth figures combined with news that Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox made an offer to buy Time Warner to give markets a big lift Wednesday as traders mulled the possibility of further corporate activity.

Though Time Warner rejected the bid — reported to be worth $80 billion — from Twenty-First Century Fox and said it has no interest in further discussions with Rupert Murdoch's media entertainment giant, it hasn't stopped traders getting animated by the prospect of a potential tie-up or where the next big takeover news may emerge. Time Warner opened 15 percent higher.

For years, big mergers and acquisitions have been notable for their absence as companies stocked up on cash reserves to weather the global economic storms. Pursuing M&A was very much a secondary consideration for boards round the world. However, with the global economy improving and the impact of the global financial abating, M&A has ticked up this year. Bids help to elevate stock prices.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 1.1 percent at 6,786 while Germany's DAX rose 1.4 percent to 9,854. The CAC-40 in France was 1.5 percent higher at 4,369.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.4 percent at 17,121, while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 1,982.

Traders, particularly in the currency markets, will also be monitoring the second day of Congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. The euro was down 0.3 percent at $1.3530 while the dollar was flat at 101.70 yen.

Earlier stock markets, particularly in Europe, had been buoyed by news China's economic growth picked up slightly in the second quarter but Asian markets were lukewarm about the data that largely fitted expectations.

The world's second-largest economy expanded 7.5 percent over a year earlier in the April-June quarter, picking up slightly from 7.4 percent growth in the first quarter, and suggesting the government's mini-stimulus measures had helped to offset a housing slowdown.

"Today's Chinese data has been a real boost for investors who have been looking for any reason to buy the dips recently," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 23,523.28 while China's Shanghai Composite reversed earlier gains to fall 0.2 percent to 2,067.28. The Nikkei 225, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was little changed at 15,379.30, closing down 0.1 percent after zigzagging in a short range throughout the day.