* FTSE closes up 0.3 pct at 6,821.04 points
* Rebound in AstraZeneca adds most points to FTSE 100
* FTSE in "no-man's land" at present -MB Capital
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 21 Britain's top share index edged
up on Wednesday as shares in drugmaker AstraZeneca
rebounded on the view that what appeared to have been an
unsuccessful bid for the company may still have a chance of
AstraZeneca rose 2.6 percent, adding the most points to the
blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which closed up 19.04 points
or 0.3 percent at 6,821.04 points.
Shares in the UK company had tumbled 11 percent on May 19
after it rejected a bid offer from U.S rival Pfizer. But
several of AstraZeneca's top institutional investors such as AXA
Investment Managers have urged it to let Pfizer put its offer to
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.
Supermarket chain WM Morrison was the
worst-performing FTSE 100 stock in percentage terms, falling 2.2
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 6,900 points 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 Hugh Lawson)