The FTSE 100 closed 0.5 per cent higher. Whitbread topped the leaderboard, up 11 per cent to hit an all-time high on bid speculation. Barclays rose 3.7 per cent in heavy volume as "exclusive preliminary discussions" with ABN Amro over a possible merger continued. The blue-chip gauge ended 30.9 higher at 6,220.3.
Wall Street ended higher as takeover activity in the technology sector reassured investors about equity valuations, with expectations of higher tech profits adding to optimism. Oracle was up nearly 3 per cent before its earnings report and Affiliated Computer Services rose after it had a $5.9bn buyout bid. The Dow Jones closed up 61.93 at 12,288.10.
Shares across the Continent closed higher, boosted by merger and acquisition talk. Fresh M& A activity lifted indices as the Dutch bank ABN Amro and Barclays outlined broad objectives in their possible merger. Shares in ABN Amro and Barclays were up around 3. …