Updates from Shire, Taylor Wimpey and Unite Students

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A 68-point lurch for the FTSE 100 on Friday, cutting it to 6,501.1. Housebuilders took the biggest blows with TaylorWimpey falling heaviest, down 5.3% to 125.7p with Persimmon and Barratt close behind, down 5.2% and 5.1% respectively (to 1459p and 431.40p). Gains were limited; ITV managed a 1.9% increase to 213.50p and Friends Life Group rose 1.8% to 371.50p.

In the US, volatility echoed London: the Dow Jones slipped 0.95% taking it to 17,737.3 with Chevron and JP Morgan down 1.9% and 1.7%.

The big news this morning is a deal for UK pharma player Shire to buy NPS Pharmaceuticals, a rare diseases specialist, for £3.4bn. The deal comes hard on the heels of the crashed AbbVie proposal, which was heavily reliant on tax concessions for the US company.

The $46.00 per share price for the transaction represents a 51% premium to NPS Pharma's share price of $30.47 on December 16, 2014 claims Shire.

"We believe that joining our two companies," says boss of NPS Pharma, Francois Nader, "will drive value for shareholders and ensure we continue to transform the lives of patients with short bowel syndrome, hypoparathyroidism, and autosomal dominant hypocalcemia worldwide."

Despite share price falls on Friday, there's a robust trading update from Taylor Wimpey this morning. In 2014 total home completions increased 6% to 12,454 up from 11,696 in 2013, of which 17% were affordable home completions (2013: 18%) it claims. Average selling prices on private completions increased by 11% to £234k (2013: £210k).

The hike is a result of the company's underlying shift to better quality locations Taylor Wimpey says and market sales price increases. The overall average selling price has upped 12% to £213k (2013: £191k). The housebuilder says it's positive too on new UK mortgage rules.

"We enter 2015 with a record order book," says Taylor Wimpey, "which has increased in value by 12% to £1,397 million as at 31 December 2014 (31 December 2013: £1,246 million), excluding joint ventures, driven largely by the strength of private reservations."

Finally, student accommodation player Unite Students says its picked up a development site in central Coventry, subject to planning. The site should provide accommodation for approximately 280 students.

The scheme is expected to achieve returns in line with Unite's targets for regional development it claims; the total development cost, including cost of the land, is expected to be around £13m.

"We are delighted," says Unite Students' Richard Simpson, "to have secured another excellent site in a strong regional location in line with our development strategy. Our properties in Coventry have performed well over the last ten years and this new property will help meet the growing demand for student accommodation in the city."

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