The U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3% to 6,827.01, a move that pushed the benchmark index toward a 2.1% rise for the week and toward its third consecutive weekly increase.The advance was aided by a 9.6% upswing in RBS shares after the bank’s first-quarter profit surged to 1.2 billion pounds ($2.02 billion) from £393 million a year ago. The performance was the best for RBS’s shares since May 2010.
Also standing out were shares of InterContinental Hotels Group , propelled higher by 8.2% after the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains owner said it plans to distribute $750 million to shareholders through a special dividend. The move comes after the company reported a 6% rise in first-quarter revenue for each available room.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca PLC rebuffed Pfizer Inc. acquisition offer, which was raised to £50 a share, valuing AstraZeneca at £63 billion . “Inadequate” is what AstraZeneca called financial and other terms of the offer. AstraZeneca shares reversed course after the decision and traded up by 0.4%. The shares extended their weekly gain to 18.5%, their strongest week on record, according to FactSet data.
“Pfizer’s proposal would dramatically dilute AstraZeneca shareholders’ exposure to our unique pipeline and would create risks around its delivery. As such, the board has no hesitation in rejecting the proposal,” said AstraZeneca Chariman Leif Johansson in a statement.