News Column

European Markets Fall, AstraZeneca Slumps

May 19, 2014

PARIS (Alliance News) - The European markets are trading lower on Monday, following weak cues from Asia, after UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca rejected an improved and final offer from Pfizer Inc. Mining stocks were hit on concerns that China's property sector is cooling.

In economic news, Eurozone March construction orders slid 0.6% on month, compared to a growth of 0.4% in February.

Elsewhere, the average asking price for a house in the UK jumped 3.6% on month in May, property tracking website Rightmove said on Monday. That follows the 2.6% increase in April

Meanwhile, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the housing market has "deep deep" problems and it represents the biggest risk to the economy.

In an interview with Sky News, Carney said insufficient number of houses is the issue around the housing market. "We're not going to build a single house at the Bank of England," he said. "We can't influence that."

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.74%, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major UK companies, is falling 0.90%.

The German DAX, the French CAC 40, the UK'sFTSE 100 and Switzerland's SMI are losing between 0.4% and 0.7%.

In Frankfurt, Commerzbank is declining 4.6%. Deutsche Bank is losing 1.8% after the lender announced Sunday plans to raise about 8 billion euros of capital through the sale of 360 million new shares.

Tiremaker Continental is sliding 1.9%. Carmakers Volkswagen and Daimler are moderately lower.

Salzgitter is gaining 2.8%. JPMorgan raised the stock to ''Overweight'' from ''Neutral.''

In Paris, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas are losing between 3.3% and 1.6%.

Renault is falling 1.6% and Alcatel Lucent is losing 1.3%.

Alstom is gaining 2.2%. US conglomerate General Electric Co. is said to be in early-stage talks with nuclear-plant maker Areva SA and other French companies about asset sales or partnerships to win regulatory approval for the USD17 billion deal.

In London, AstraZeneca is declining 13% after its board rejected the final proposal from US-based Pfizer.

Miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are losing 2.3% and 1.5%, respectively.

Ryanair is climbing 7.3%. The low-cost airline sees increased profit and traffic for fiscal 2015. Peer easyJet added 1.3%.

The Asian stocks fell broadly on concerns that China's property sector is cooling sapped investor appetite for riskier assets.

In the US, futures point to a lower open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks finished modestly higher, as investors digested some solid retail earnings reports as well as mixed housing starts and consumer sentiment data. The Dow rose 0.3%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained half a percent and the S&P 500 advanced 0.4%.

Crude for June delivery is gaining USD0.65 to USD102.67 per barrel, while gold is adding USD6.6 to USD1300.0 a troy ounce.

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Source: Alliance News

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