* FTSE 100 flat
* Shire rises after agreeing takeover by Abbvie
* Shooting down of passenger plane hits sentiment
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, July 18 A rise in drug maker Shire
propped up Britain's stock market on Friday, cushioning
it to an extent from concerns about the conflict in Ukraine,
where a passenger plane was shot down over the rebel-controlled
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was flat at 6,737.92
points going into the close of the trading day.
Global stock markets had slumped on Thursday after the
shooting down of a Malaysian airliner with 298 people on
World leaders demanded an international investigation into
the plane crash, which could mark a turning point in the worst
crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War if it
convinces reluctant Europeans to get behind tougher sanctions on
Russia long sought by the United States.
However, a rally in Shire enabled the FTSE 100 to come off
its earlier intraday lows.
Shire rose 3.3 percent, adding the most points to the FTSE,
after U.S. rival Abbvie agreed a $55 billion deal to
take it over.
In spite of the worries about the Ukraine conflict, some
traders have said that corporate takeover activity, and the fact
that equities offer better returns than bonds or cash, should
enable stock markets to rally into the end of 2014.
"The geopolitical situation is quite jittery at the moment,
but everybody is looking at the dip as a buying opportunity,"
said Novum Securities' technical analyst Adrian Slack.
Others, however, were more circumspect.
"We were buying the dips up until the plane crash. We are
now a bit cautious and will not be taking new positions going
into the weekend," said Mark Ward, head of trading at Sanlam
(Additional reporting by Andrew Winterbottom and Tricia Wright;
Editing by Kevin Liffey)