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UK stock market morning note (May 19, 2014)

May 19, 2014, Monday, 09:35 GMT | 04:35 EST | 14:05 IST | 16:35 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open flat this morning following the overnight performance in Asia on news that the Chinese authorities are looking to tighten their grip on interbank lending to reduce the risks in shadow banks. On Sunday evening, there were a raft of deals announced with Deutsche Bank's EUR8bn fundraising, AT&T's confirmation that it was to buy DirecTV for USD48.5bn and Pfizer's fresh and final GBP55 a share bid for AstraZeneca with the latter to be in focus again as the UK market opens (see below). There is no major economic news due for release today. Commodity prices are firmer and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is slightly weaker against the pound, euro and yen but all remain within narrow trading ranges.


Company Announcements

AstraZeneca

The company has rejected the new GBP69bn final offer from Pfizer describing it as 'inadequate and would present risks to shareholders, whilst also having consequences for the company, employees and the life sciences sector in the UK, Sweden and the US'.

Micro Focus

Following the company's financial year end, it anticipates that year on year growth in total revenue on a constant currency basis will be around the upper end of the 3%-6% guidance range. Underlying adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA are expected to be in line with current market expectations with net debt at 30 April 2014 standing at USD261m.

Babcock

Full Year Results see underlying operating profits up 9% (11% at constant currency) at GBP377.9m on underlying revenue ahead 9% at GBP3.54bn. The full year dividend is raised 13% to 21.4p with cash conversion coming in at 103% and net debt increasing to GBP533.7m. The bid pipeline stands at GBP17.5bn with the order book providing visibility of future revenue. It added that its markets remain buoyant and is confident of continuing to make further strong progress in the 2014/15 financial year.