Eurofirst drops 0.3 percent to 1,278.91

European equities markets were lower on Monday on fears that interest rates in the region could go up more than previously expected. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 dropped 0.3 percent to 1,278.91.

The banking sector was mixed on the day. Credit Agricole said that it would not raise its bid for Greek bank Emporiki even though the Bank of Cyprus was reported to have submitted a higher offer than Agricole’s. Agricole dropped 0.4 percent to €28.30 and Alpha Bank, also thought to be interested in bidding for Emporiki, was down 1.1 percent to €18.80. Meanwhile, Bank of Cyprus added 1.6 percent to €7.34. Emporiki remained even at €27.48.

Elsewhere among banks, Piraeus Bank gained 3.5 percent to €18.66 after it became known that it had increased its stake in Bank of Cyprus from 5.99 percent to 6.4 percent and rumors began to circulate that Piraeus was thinking about bidding for Bank of Cyprus. EFG Eurobank dropped 1.7 percent to €21.10, while National Bank of Greece ended down 1.8 percent to €28.08.

In the steel sector, Arcelor was up 7.9 percent to €37.80 and Mittal Steel dropped 3.7 percent to €24.38 after Arcelor agreed to a new offer from Mittal which was 43 percent higher than its January bid. The newly formed company will have to divest itself of some holdings to satisfy regulatory rules. Salzgitter, which is known to be interested in Arcelor’s European holdings, added 1.9 to €63.25. On the other hand, ThyssenKrupp dropped 2.6 percent to €25.13 on concerns that its deal with Mittal to purchase US company Dofasco could be abandoned due to opposition from Arcelor.

EADS added 3.3 percent to €22.75 after the French government conceded that the aerospace firm’s governance structure should be set by its industrial partners, DaimlerChrysler and Lagardere. The French had previously asked for more influence over the company after EADS said that deliveries of its new A380 super jumbo jet will be delayed.

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