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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Europe Flat, Awaits U.S. Election End

LONDON -- European bourses ended flat or weaker on Monday with London down half a percent despite a jump in British Telecom shares following news of its planned $20 billion merger with America's MCI Communications.

On the currency markets, the dollar regained some lost ground against the yen towards the end of the afternoon after earlier drifting gradually down toward 113 yen.

Dealers said trade was muted ahead of Tuesday's U.S. presidential elections with a victory for incumbent Bill Clinton already widely priced into the market.

Leading London stocks lost ground as political worries and weak futures prices trampled enthusiasm for the BT/MCI merger.

The FTSE 100 share index rose as high as 3,956.2 points in early trade as BT and other telecom shares soared on the news of the record trans-Atlantic deal. But weak FTSE futures prices, worries about a possible Democrat sweep of the U.S. elections and the increasingly uncertain British political landscape knocked the gloss off the market and the FTSE 100 closed 20.4 points lower at 3,928.1.

BT shares closed at 372 pence, down from the day's high of 392 but still 22 pence up on Friday's closing price.

Meanwhile, the dollar was pushed up to session highs against the yen in late trade but dealers said the markets were muted.

?Asian markets Monday defied the conventional wisdom that drifting shares generally head lower, with most bourses posting small gains in quiet trade ahead of U.S. presidential election.

Jakarta was the day's star performer, with the composite index rising 7.65 points, or 1.34 percent, to 578.31. Brokers said overall trade was slow with the public offering by Bank Negara Indonesia, which opened today, the major focus.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index managed to eke out a new closing high, aided by a jump in New World Development shares ahead of the release of the company's results this week.

The index closed 30.13 points higher at 12,559.40. Turnover was 6.34 billion Hong Kong dollars, compared to 7.3 billion Hong Kong dollars on Friday.

Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Thailand were all quiet ahead of the U.S. poll. Tokyo was closed for a holiday Monday.