LSE shares soar on bid speculation

LSE shares soar on bid speculation

Shares in the London Stock Exchange continued to rise today, climbing 1.5% to 392.75 pence in morning trading, on the back of speculation of an imminent takeover bid from Germany's Deutsche Börse.

LSE stock rose 8.5 pence to close at a four month high of 387 pence following rumours that it would confirm an approach by the German exchange when it released its interim results today.

The stock continued to climb this morning despite the LSE reporting a six per cent fall in first half operating profit for the six months ended 30 September 2004 to £39 million, which it said was due to the move to new offices and the launch of its EDX derivatives business. Profit before tax was up nine per cent to £48.2 million. The exchange posted a five per cent increase in gross turnover to £126 million.

The number of terminals taking the Exchange's real time market data remained unchanged from the same point last year, stabilising at 90,000 after years of successive declines. Proquote, the Exchange's provider of financial market software and data, increased the number of installed screens to 2300, up from 1500 last year.

LSE stock has risen 10% over the past month amid market excitement about a possible take-over. The Exchange and its continental rivals have so far refused to be drawn on the speculation.

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