* Rebound in AstraZeneca adds most points to FTSE 100
* FTSE up 0.1 pct, but still stalling after last week's
* FTSE in "no-man's land" at present -MB Capital
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 21 A rebound in drugmaker
AstraZeneca, on the prospect that a bid for the company
may not be entirely dead, propped up Britain's top share index
AstraZeneca rose 2.4 percent to 44.08 pounds to add the most
points to the blue-chip FTSE 100 index. The FTSE was up
by 0.1 percent, or 6.03 points, at 6,808.03 points going into
the close of trading.
AstraZeneca dropped 11 percent on May 19, after the company
rejected a bid offer from U.S rival Pfizer, but several
of AstraZeneca's top institutional investors have urged the UK
company to let Pfizer put its offer to them.
AXA Investment Managers said on Wednesday that AstraZeneca's
board of directors should not prevent Pfizer's offer from being
put to its shareholders.
Beaufort Securities sales trader Basil Petrides said such
calls from shareholders to consider Pfizer's bid were helping
AstraZeneca's shares recover some ground.
"There's a small bounce on hopes that Pfizer might go
hostile, but I wouldn't want to trade Astra right now. It's too
risky to bet on Pfizer going hostile," he said.
STALLING AFTER HITTING HIGHS
Supermarket chain WM Morrison was the
worst-performing FTSE 100 stock in percentage terms, falling 2.5
percent after Deutsche Bank analysts cut their rating on the
company to "sell" from "hold", mainly on valuation grounds.
Last week the FTSE climbed to 6,894.88 points, which was its
highest level since December 1999, but it has since lost ground.
Traders said the fact that the FTSE had failed to break
above the 6,900 point level had induced some investors to go
"short" and sell out to book profits on last week's run-up.
"We're in a bit of a no-man's land at the moment. We've lost
a little bit of froth but we're not getting a lot of momentum
either way," said MB Capital trading director Marcus Bullus.
"I'd be more inclined to 'short' at the moment and book
profits," he added.
($1 = 0.5935 British pounds)
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Toby Chopra
and Susan Fenton)