English: Cloze Test for Upcoming Exams – Set 128

Directions: In the passage given below there are 10 blanks. Every blank has A PAIR of four alternative words given in options (A),(B),(C), and (D). You have to tell which pair is APPROPRIATE according to the context. If all are appropriate then mark your answer as “E”.

It had been billed as a bridge between Europe’s two main financial hubs. It has become, however, a symbol of their growing competition—and of the uncertainty into which Brexit has ____1____ the EU’s markets. A planned merger between Deutsche Börse (DB) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), both listed companies, seems on the verge of collapse. This week the LSE rejected the latest demand of the European Commission (EC) to sell parts of its business to allay competition concerns.

The €29bn ($30bn) merger was first announced a year ago and is the companies’ third attempt to join forces since 2000. It brings together the operators of the British, German and Italian stock exchanges, as well as some of the largest clearing-houses in Europe. Before it would approve the deal, the EC launched an investigation into its ____2____ on competition. Last September it identified a number of concerns, including about the derivatives market once the clearing-houses merged. In early February the LSE sought to ease that concern by confirming the sale of its Paris-based clearing unit, LCH.

Not good enough, the EC countered a few weeks later: the sale of LCH would not boost competition, because the LSE also owned MTS, an Italian electronic-trading platform for bond and repo markets, which could direct trades away from LCH and towards other clearing-houses in the new, ____3____ company. So the commission in the LSE’s words “unexpectedly” made a “disproportionate” demand: that MTS also be sold off. The LSE refuses. The EC is due to make a decision on the deal by April 3rd; unless it changes its position, the merger seems ____4____.

The latest roadblock may appear to be about competition. But politics ____5____ close to the surface. National pride is at stake: DB and the LSE operate stock exchanges regarded as iconic institutions in Germany and Britain. The vote in Britain to leave the EU has raised the stakes. Under the terms of the deal, agreed on before the referendum and since approved by shareholders, the merged company’s headquarters would be in London. But now that Britain is leaving the EU, the German state of Hesse argues there is a clear case for moving them to DB’s home city, Frankfurt.

Inevitably, this has prompted ____6____ that the EC has been put under pressure to be tough on the LSE, either by the Germans, or even by the French, who may want to thwart the rise of Frankfurt as a post-Brexit alternative to London. It has not helped that Carsten Kengeter, DB’s chief executive and the intended boss of the merged concern, lives in London and is seen as an Anglophile, or that German prosecutors are investigating allegations of his insider dealing before the proposed merger was made public—a charge both he and DB’s supervisory board dismiss.

The British government has been relatively ____7____ about the deal. Some politicians nonetheless express concern that the merged company’s headquarters might move to Germany, taking euro-denominated clearing with them. But, argue supporters of the deal, relocation would not be so easy: a 75% majority of the new company’s board would need to approve it. Since the separate entities within the merged company would continue to be supervised by national authorities, any future move would need regulatory ____8____ . And in any case, the fate of euro-denominated clearing could well be determined not by the companies but by regulators and the Brexit negotiations.

The LSE says it remains  ____9____ of the benefits of the merger. But it seems to accept that the deal is destined to collapse. Even if the EC hurdle is cleared, others loom. Supervisors in both Hesse and Britain are yet to bless the union. The LSE says it can stand on its own. Its share price fell only a little on news of the merger’s troubles. It was perhaps ____10____ by the prospect of a rival suitor. The American-owned Intercontinental Exchange may be waiting in the wings; it expressed interest last year, and the fall in sterling since makes the LSE a cheaper buy. Bridges across the channel are hardly in vogue in Britain these days. The Atlantic, anyone?

  1. hurled, pitched
    dashed, descended
    plunged, dropped
    dipped, lowered
    All are Correct
    Option E


  2. impact, influence
    strike, nibble
    impression, stupidity
    affect, caress
    All are Correct
    Option A


  3. combined, forked
    merged, blended
    connected, branched
    consolidated, bifurcated
    All are Correct
    Option B


  4. fated, explicit
    cursed, delivered
    doomed, condemned
    destined, revived
    All are Correct
    Option C


  5. couches, larks
    ambushes, lorax
    absconds, larix
    lurks, loiters
    All are Correct
    Option D


  6. suspicions, inklings
    doubts, hunches
    impressions, ideas
    doubts, notions
    All are Correct
    Option E


  7. still, wild
    quiet, calm
    hush, creepy
    placid, flabbergast
    All are Correct
    Option B


  8. endorsement, sarcasm
    blessing, criticism
    approval, contempt
    sanction, acceptance
    All are Correct
    Option D


  9. assure, hesitant
    confident, cynical
    cocksure, septical
    convinced, assured
    All are Correct
    Option D


  10. propped, wretched
    encouraged, gloomy
    uplifted, miserable
    buoyed, bolstered
    All are Correct
    Option D


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