Market Report: Hopes the collapse of Pfizer's takeover bid would leave AstraZeneca open to a counter-offer are wide of the mark

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The Independent Online

Speculators hoping AstraZeneca might still be in play after Pfizer's abortive bid might want to reconsider.

The pharmaceutical giant revealed that boss Pascal Soriot bought £2m worth of shares in Astra on Monday, implying no takeover talks are happening.

Many had hoped that the collapse of Pfizer's takeover bid would leave Astra open to a counter-offer or provoke a defensive merger to prevent a second approach. No such luck it seems. Gamblers can still hold out hope that Pfizer might return after its six-month cooling-off period ends. Astra added 29p to 4369.5p.

Punters were talking up Vodafone, 1.05p better at 196.05p, with a rumour circulating that it could be interested in French telecoms major Orange. The rationale discussed is that it would give Voda access to EE, a joint venture between Orange and Deutsche Telekom, and take some cash off Voda's balance sheet. A merger between Deustche and Orange is also seen as a possibility.

Chinese manufacturers supported the FTSE 100, as growth in the sector spurred miners higher. Anglo American was 57p better at 1487p, Rio Tinto added 94p to 3202.5p and BHP Billiton climbed 55p to 1944.5p.

The bluechip index closed 58.98 points higher at 6802.92, breaking the 6800 mark again after a lull.

AO World rebounded 12.5p to 270p on the mid-cap index, as the online white goods retailer recovered from a painful sell note issued by Shore Capital earlier in the week.

Surveyor and construction management specialist Sweett Group is facing investigation in both the UK and US into corruption in the Middle East, but that hasn't dampened performance. The company revealed a 59 per cent jump in pre-tax profit to £2.8m in the year to March, helping Sweett climb 1.5p to 39.5p.

AIM-listed Cyan Holdings leapt 0.075p to 0.37p after the energy monitoring technology maker signed its second smart meter deal in India in two weeks.

Music streaming and online radio specialist 7Digital collapsed 2.75p to 15.5p on news that BlackBerry is closing its mobile download store. The company said the move would not affect forecasts.