3:30 PM London – The UK indexes climbed after mortgage lending declined in November. Alberto Culver stockholders approved merger with Unilever. Ladbrokes proposed to buy 888 Holdings.
The Irish Finance Ministry on Monday said neither the European Central Bank nor any national central bank would be exposed financially by Ireland''s recently announced Credit Institutions Stabilisation Bill.
""There is no question of the Central Bank, ECB or any NCB as creditors to the guaranteed institutions being exposed financially by the exercise of the Minister''s powers under the Bill,"" media reports quoted a finance ministry spokesperson as saying.
The ministry was responding to the concerns raised by the ECB over the weekend that Dublin''s new law could interfere with efforts to provide liquidity to the euro area''s financial system.
In London, FTSE 100 Index gained 27.69 or 0.47% to 5,899.71 and the pound edged higher to close at $1.5531.
UK Mortgage Lending Falls
The UK''s gross mortgage lending dropped to its lowest November level in a decade, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.
Gross lending fell 10% annually to £11.1 billion in November. This was 5% lower than the £11.6 billion approved in October.
Data from the Bank of England showed that 45,000 loans were approved for home purchases in November compared to 44,000 loans approved in October. During November last year, mortgage approvals totaled 61,000.
The central bank report also noted that the value of mortgage lending for home purchases rose to £5.6 billion in November from £5.4 billion in October.
The Confederation of British Industry said the UK economy would grow just 0.2% in the first three months of 2011, down from the previous forecast of a 0.3% growth, as public sector job cuts and a rise in the Value Added Tax rate slow the recovery.
Ladbrokes in Talks to Take Over 888 Holdings
Ladbrokes plc, the betting and gaming company confirmed today that it is in preliminary talks to acquire online gambling company 888 Holdings plc. 888 Holdings also confirmed early stages of talks, while both companies said no assurance could be given for the discussions leading to an offer.
The Sunday Telegraph had earlier reported that Ladbrokes made an offer for 888 of about 70 pence per share, totaling £240 million or $372.15 million.
Unilever Confirms Alberto Culver Shareholders'' Acceptance
Unilever Plc, the Anglo-Dutch consumer products maker confirmed that Alberto Culver Co. shareholders have voted in favor of the proposed $3.7 billion Unilever acquisition, which was announced on September 27, 2010.
Separately, Unilever confirmed that it received a second request for information from the United States Department of Justice in the regulatory review process.
Gainers & Losers
AorTech International Plc fell 1.395% to 212.00 pence after the biomaterials and medical device development company reported first-half revenues surged 253% to £674,000 from £191,000 in the same period last year. Loss in the period narrowed 27% to £1.01 million or 20.98 pence per share, compared to loss of £1.38 million or 28.51 pence per share last year.
British Airways Plc dropped 0.96% to 267.60 pence after the London based carrier said that unfavorable weather in Europe causing disruption to its operations.