News Column

European Stocks Slide Amid Violence In Ukraine

May 2, 2014

BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - European stocks gave back a portion of their weekly gains Friday as concerns over Ukraine failed to offset an upbeat US jobs report.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC shares soared after saying quarterly profit tripled, but the mood was generally grim as enthusiasm over the US data quickly evaporated.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks fell 0.8%, trimming recent gains.

Around Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.6%, the FTSE of the UK lost 0.10%, and the CAC of France dropped 0.9%. It was a busy day on the corporate front, particularly among drug makers jostling in mergers and acquisitions.

Bayer AG lost 0.1% on a report it is close to a deal to buy Merck & Co Inc.'s consumer healthcare unit.

Shares of health care company Merck KGAA was down 1.6%. Reckitt Benckiser Group said it was no longer in active discussions to buy the Merck business. Reckitt shares dropped 1%

AstraZeneca PLC. shares fell 0.1% in London after US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. announced it has submitted a revised proposal to the UK-based drug maker to make an offer to combine the two companies. AstraZeneca, meanwhile, said its board would discuss the proposal.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. shares jumped more than 8%. The lender reported a sharp increase in its first-quarter profit, reflecting one-off gains as well as a fall in impairment losses in its Irish division.

Software AG shares fell 2.3% in Frankfurt. The infrastructure software firm backed its growth forecast for fiscal 2014 operating earnings after reporting a 32% decline in first-quarter net income.

In news that rattled investors, two helicopters were brought down by pro-Russian forces in the city of Slavyansk on Friday, Ukraine'sDefense Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the US Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 288,000 jobs in April compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 218,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 5-year low of 6.3%.

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Source: Alliance News

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