Stocks hesitate but London boosted by Toshiba news

London (AFP) –


Stock markets wavered on Wednesday as investors paused from recent gains, but London and Tokyo gained on takeover news regarding Japanese industrial giant Toshiba.

London's FTSE 100 stocks index climbed 0.9 percent, extending Tuesday's increase, after Toshiba earlier revealed it was considering a buyout from UK private equity firm CVC Capital.

The news also partly buoyed Tokyo stocks as media reports suggested the deal could be worth about $20 billion (17 billion euros).

London sentiment was further inspired as Deliveroo shares rallied on the takeaway app's first full trading day, in contrast to last week's launch when they crashed after being snubbed by institutional investors.

- Post-Easter bounce -

"The FTSE 100 built on yesterday's gains as its post-Easter bounce continued," said AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson.

"Among the catalysts for this latest leg higher for equities is news of a blockbuster private equity bid for Japanese conglomerate Toshiba which is likely to prompt speculation about which companies could be next to fall prey to the wall of cash private equity firms have built up in recent years."

Elsewhere in Europe, the Frankfurt index dipped 0.2 percent and Paris was flat.

Asia turned in a mixed session.

Wall Street opened mixed, with investors looking to the release later in the day of the minutes of the latest US Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee meeting.

"What people really want to see in the minutes is whether there's any hint of what's to come over the next six months," said JJ Kinahan, chief market stategist at TD Ameritrade.

"The minutes could provide a good behind-the-scenes look at any debate that went on before Chairman Jerome Powell held his press conference and doubled down on the commitment to stay accommodative even when inflation starts showing up," he added.

Wall Street was unable to maintain the momentum on Tuesday and retreated slightly, despite growing global economic optimism.

President Joe Biden gave cause to cheer by saying all adults in the United States would be eligible for a vaccine by April 19, almost two weeks earlier than previously pledged, reinforcing hope that the world's biggest economy will get back on its feet more quickly.

In a further sign the United States was bouncing back, officials said job openings had surged to a two-year high in February.

That followed last week's forecast-busting employment report and data showing a strong pick-up in the manufacturing and key services sector.

The string of healthy data -- along with Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus and $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal -- have helped world markets climb to recent record or multi-month highs.

- Toshiba surges -

Tokyo ended only moderately higher, but Toshiba stock soared 18 percent after it confirmed it had received the CVC buyout offer.

The Nikkei newspaper said CVC Capital Partners was considering a 30 percent premium over the industrial group's share price on Tuesday.

Toshiba said it would "request detailed information and carefully discuss" the offer.

Hong Kong stocks dipped after an extended holiday weekend, while Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok also dropped.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 6,886.67 points

Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 6,131.49

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 15,183.03

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,958.55

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 33,494.47

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 29,730.79 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.9 percent at 28,674.80 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,479.63 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1898 from $1.1876 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3755 from $1.3824

Euro/pound: UP at 86.48 pence from 85.90 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.78 yen from 109.75 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $62.56 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $59.08