Smith & Nephew outperforms sluggish European markets

By Reuters

Dec 24, 2014 09:18 PM EST

Bid speculation drove up the shares of medical devices maker Smith & Nephew (SN.L) on Wednesday, allowing it to outpace sluggish European stock markets in a shortened session ahead of the Christmas break.

The 7.7 percent jump in Smith & Nephew, after Bloomberg News reported U.S. rival Stryker (SYK.N) was planning a takeover offer for it, allowed Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE to end 0.2 percent higher at 6,609.93 points.

France's CAC .FCHI ended down 0.4 percent as data showing another set of record unemployment figures in France weighed on the Paris market.

By contrast, data showed that British workers' productivity had a long-awaited improvement in the third quarter of this year, highlighting how Britain has managed to avoid the worst of the economic slump afflicting the euro zone.

"Productivity has been a sore spot for the UK economy recently, so a positive figure could not have come at a better time," said Spreadex financial analyst Connor Campbell.

Spain's IBEX .IBEX equity index was flat, while the cash markets for both Milan and Frankfurt's DAX .GDAXI were closed.

The DAX is up 4 percent in 2014, beating a 2 percent dip on theFTSE 100 and a flat performance on France's CAC.

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