* FTSE 100 up 0.3 percent
* Shire jumps after rejecting bid valuing it at $46 bln
* Traders expect FTSE to challenge 6,900 point level soon
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, June 20 Britain's benchmark equity index
rose on Friday as a surge in the shares of drugmaker Shire
lifted the stock market, which many traders expected to
inch further towards record highs in coming days.
Shire hit all-time highs and was up by more than 10
percent at 4,134 pence after rejecting a bid from AbbVie Inc
which would have valued the group at around 27 billion
pounds ($46 billion).
Even though Shire rejected the bid, many traders expected
Shire to remain a takeover target. The broader pharmaceuticals
sector is experiencing a wave of merger and acquisition (M&A)
activity, as highlighted by Pfizer's recent attempt to
"We've been quite bullish on pharma stocks due to the M&A
for quite some time. We haven't sold Shire after the spike
higher, we're just holding onto it," said Dafydd Davies, senior
trader at Prime Wealth Group.
TRADERS STAY BULLISH
Shire's gains added the most points to the FTSE 100, and
ayondo markets' senior trader Jordan Hiscott said Shire's shares
could go up to the 5,000 pence level.
The FTSE 100 was up by 0.3 percent, or 21.30 pence, at
6,829.41 by the middle of the trading day.
Traders remained bullish on the index, which is sitting
within reach of a record high 6,950.60 set in 1999.
Although the FTSE 100 is only up by around 1 percent since
the start of 2014, many traders say the FTSE should rally more
strongly if it can get past the 6,900 point level.
"I think the FTSE is a buy at these levels," said Mark Ward,
Sanlam Securities' head of trading, who expected the FTSE to hit
6,900 points in the coming days.
($1 = 0.5864 British pounds)
(additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Catherine