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Europe midday: Stocks off early highs despite vaccine hopes

Mon, 14th Sep 2020 16:22

(Sharecast News) - European stocks have come off their earlier highs despite the boost to sentiment from Covid-19 vaccine hopes.

Merger and acquisition activity also provided impetus.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.07% but the German Dax had reversed course to dip 0.2% to 13,177.02.

France's Cac-40 however was faring better, adding 0.31% to 5,049.77 while the Spanish Ibex 35 was little changed, up by 0.13% to 6,952.8.

News that Phase 3 trials of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine had resumed in the UK after a pause last week over safety concerns pushed shares into the green.

"European stocks have got off to a positive start to the week helped by a decent performance in Asia, as well as renewed optimism over progress on a possible vaccine after AstraZeneca resumed its UK trials after last week's suspension over safety concerns, and possible side effects," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

"The CEO of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was also upbeat about the prospect that US citizens could well see the beginnings of a Covid vaccine by year end."

M&A activity provided a lift after Japan's Softbank agreed a $40bn deal with US chip maker Nvidia for UK peer ARM Holdings, which it acquired for $32bn in 2016.

SoftBank will become Nvidia's largest shareholder after the Japanese group receives $21.5bn in common stock and $12bn in cash.

Meanwhile, Swiss lenders UBS and Credit Suisse are allegedly exploring a possible tie-up, in a move that would create one Europe's biggest banks, Inside Paradeplatz reported on Monday.

Euronext confirmed that it has made a non-binding offer to London Stock Exchange to buy Borsa Italiana. The offer was made in partnership with Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and Intesa Sanpaolo.

Investors were also digesting news that Oracle has beaten rival Microsoft in negotiations for the US operations of ByteDance's TikTok.

Also overseas, Gilead Sciences said over the weekend that it had agreed to buy biotech company Immunomedics in a $21bn deal. Gilead will pay $88 per share in cash for Immunomedics, which will strengthen its cancer drug portfolio.

Dassault Aviation shares led the risers board, jumping more than 8%, after the Greek Air Force announced an order for 18 of its Rafale fighter jets.

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