Updates from Shire and John Lewis

Trading before Christmas didn't see much of a Santa rally: the FTSE 100 climbed just 15 points, up +0.23%, to 6694 on Tuesday with BSkyB the biggest riser, up +2.52% to 833p. British Airways owner IAG rose +1.52% to 400.8p, up +1.52%.

The Dow Jones though took a more bullish stance, up 122 points, or +0.75%, to 16,479.8. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

There's a pronounced post-Xmas hush on the numbers front. Irish biopharma player Shire says it has extended the expiration of its previously announced tender offer by a wholly owned subsidiary of Shire for all the outstanding common shares of ViroPharma until midnight January 9, 2014.

As of 6pm on December 26, 2013 approximately 50,217,259 common shares of ViroPharma had been validly tendered "and not withdrawn pursuant to the tender offer, representing approximately 76 percent of the outstanding common shares of ViroPharma."

Credit Suisse recently boosted its target price on Shire, from 2750p to 2900p. Shares in the company have soared more than 40% in the last year.

Next, miner Evraz says it has signed an agreement with LLC Ruda Khakasii connected to Evrazruda's iron ore assets and utilities companies in the Republic of Khakassia and Kemerovo region for a total cash consideration of RUB 10 million (or approximately US$306,000).

The assets include iron ore mining and processing facilities and energy generating units including the Abakan iron ore mine. For the year ending 31 December 2012, these assets produced a total loss before tax of US$20 million.

"The transaction," says the company, "is in line with the EVRAZ strategy to optimise its iron ore asset portfolio, and is targeted both at reducing operating losses and at improving Evrazruda's financial performance."

In terms of the British high street, John Lewis says online trading on Christmas Eve was more than 13% up compared to 2012. It's thought up to £2.97bn - beating the previous £2.8bn record - was spent on Boxing Day alone across the UK, supplying a much-needed boost to struggling high street retailers.

Pre-Christmas storms and bad weather did little to help Christmas trading: it's estimated shopper numbers slumped by up to 5% in some areas of the UK.

On the broader economy front, Japanese consumer prices, according to latest data, have risen at the fastest clip for five years, raising hope that Japan may soon escape the clutches of deflation.

Read Full Story