Arab Today, arab today european stocks weak as astrazeneca rejects bid
Last Updated : GMT 15:34:24
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European stocks weak as AstraZeneca rejects bid

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Arab Today, arab today European stocks weak as AstraZeneca rejects bid

London - AFP

European equities were weak on Monday after a mixed start, with London hit after AstraZeneca rejected Pfizer's final takeover bid, while Frankfurt and Paris rose. In early afternoon deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.35 percent to stand at 6,831.78 points. Frankfurt's DAX 30 was down 0.25 percent to 9,604.86 points and in Paris the CAC 40 was down 0.02 percent to 4,455.30 points, compared with Friday's closing values. Wall Street also opened on the back foot. Italian stocks however plunged more than 3.0 percent at one stage, with banks leading a slump that was mainly owing to technical reasons related to dividend pay-outs. Traders said the market was hit also by last week's weaker-than-expected first-quarter eurozone economic growth data, bond market pressures and uncertainty before European parliamentary elections. Milan's FTSE Mib index later stood at 20,239.84 points, down 1.98 percent from Friday's close. The euro edged up against the dollar in early afternoon trading, with dealers saying that traders were on the sidelines in the absence of big economic indicators. In London, British drugmaker AstraZeneca topped the fallers board. The group's shares tumbled by up to 15 percent after the company rejected Pfizer's improved $117-billion (85-billion-euro) bid pitched at £55 per share. The announcement appeared to put an end to the long-running saga after Pfizer described its latest bid as its "final" bid on Sunday. "The biggest story on Monday is without doubt AstraZeneca’s decision to reject Pfizer’s 'final offer' to buy the company, after it valued the company’s shares at £55 each, around £3 short of what the board would consider," said analyst Craig Erlam at Alpari traders. "Clearly, with Pfizer labelling this their final offer for the company, the deal now appears to be dead in the water and AstraZeneca shares are suffering as a result." The stock later pulled back slightly to stand at £42.80, down 11.34 percent from Friday's close. Erlam added that downbeat Chinese economic data was also hitting London's mining sector, because China is a top consumer of metals. "Also weighing on the FTSE ... are the miners after more disappointing data from China over the weekend added to concerns that the country cannot achieve its ambitious 7.5-percent growth target," he said. On Wall Street, The Dow Jones index opened with a fall of 0.12 percent, and the Nasdaq was down 0.26 percent. - Huge ATandT, DirectTV deal - Investor sentiment meanwhile was not boosted by a huge takeover deal in the telecommunications sector. US telecoms giant ATandT clinched a deal on Sunday to acquire broadcast satellite service provider DirecTV for nearly $50 billion, the latest in a string of pay TV consolidation moves. A merger between the two companies would create a potent rival to cable TV giant Comcast, which hopes to expand its coverage with the pending takeover of Time Warner Cable. The European single currency rose to $1.3723 from $1.3695 late in New York on Friday. The euro fell to 138.79 yen, having fallen earlier to 138.67, the lowest level since the beginning of February, from 139.08 late on Friday. The dollar also fell to 101.14 yen, having reached 101.10 earlier and the lowest level for three and a half months, from 101.54 on Friday. Sterling steadied at 81.51 pence to the euro, and rose to $ 1.6836. The yuan was at 6.2373 to the dollar from 6.2334. The price of gold advanced to $1,301.00 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,291.50 on Friday.

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