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Europe: Stock markets diverge at open

[LONDON] The London and Frankfurt stock markets fell at the open on Friday, as Paris advanced heading into the weekend pause thanks to a sharp rise in L'Oreal's share price.

In the British capital, the benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.2 per cent to 7,252.32 points compared with the close on Thursday.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed 0.2 per cent to 12,569 points.

The Paris CAC 40 won 0.2 per cent to 5,277.39 points as shares in L'Oreal jumped nearly 5.0 per cent at the start of trading.

Investors bet on a change of possible ownership at the company following the death Wednesday of the French cosmetic company's heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

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The cosmetics giant's principal shareholder, Bettencourt was the 14th richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine, which estimated her net worth in March at US$39.5 billion.

"The death of Liliane Bettencourt opens the door for Nestle to up their stake in L'Oreal," brokers Liberum said in a note to clients Friday.

But it added: "There is a lot of speculation at this stage: a possible scenario is that Nestle may acquire L'Oreal and there are other rumours that L'Oreal may buy back part of its stake from Nestle."


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