In London the FTSE has closed down by 2.4 points to 4,819.60 following the news that retail sales in the UK unexpectedly fell in March.
Sales fell a seasonally adjusted 0.1% from the previous month when they rose a revised 0.3%, the Office for National Statistics in London said today.
The news helped to counteract this morning's gains follwing the annoucement that Pernod Ricard SA had agreed to buy Allied Domecq for £7.4 billion in cash and stock, gaining brands such as Ballantine's whisky and Beefeater gin to become the world's second-largest drinks company. Allied Domecq saw its stock rise 22.00p to 665.00p.
As part of the transaction, Fortune Brands Inc., the U.S. maker of Jim Beam bourbon, will buy Allied Domecq's Canadian Club whiskey and five other brands from Pernod for £2.8 billion.
Vodafone was also up slight by 1.25p to 137.25p.
In the US the markets have opened positively, recovering from yesterday’s tumble of 115 points, after a Federal Reserve report showed manufacturing in the Philadelphia region has unexpectedly expanded at a faster pace.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 13 points, or 1.1%, at 1150.50 as of 12:04 p.m. in New York.
The Federal Bank of Philadelphia's general economic index for April rose to 25.3 from 11.4. Last month's figure was the lowest since July 2003. A number greater than zero signals a higher percentage of the manufacturers surveyed reported an improvement in business than deterioration.
The Dow Jones is currently up 119.34 points to 10,131.70, led by Intel up $0.45 to $23.12, and the Nasdaq 100 Index up $0.45 to $35.15. Ebay on the other hand, has slipped $0.77 to $32.34.IFAonline
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