European stocks climb on vaccine hopes and M&A action

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Capped vials of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which has restarted trials after a pause last week.


Vincenzo Pinto/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

European stocks marched higher on Monday, alongside U.S. equity futures, driven by vaccine hopes, mergers and acquisitions news.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index
SXXP,
+0.07%
rose 0.2% after ending last week nearly 1.7% higher, the best weekly return since the week ending August 7. The German DAX
DAX,
-0.12%
was flat, the French CAC 40
PX1,
+0.31%
rose 0.5%, while the FTSE 100 index
UKX,
-0.24%
was 0.2% up.

Investors will hear from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan in the coming days in a busy week for central bank meetings.

Wall Street was also pointing to a stronger start, with Nasdaq-100 futures
NQ00,
+2.22%
surging 153 points, or 1.4%, while S&P 500 futures
ES00,
+1.61%
rallied 40.95 points, or 1.2%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
YM00,
+1.19%
jumped 255 points, or 0.9%.

Those gains came on the heels of a losing week for Wall Street, with the Dow
DJIA,
+1.05%
dropping 1.7%, the S&P 500
SPX,
+1.36%
falling 2.5% and the Nasdaq
COMP,
+1.84%
dropping 4.1%, its worst weekly loss since the week ending March 20.

Renewed hopes over a coronavirus vaccine also helped improved sentiment at the beginning of the week.

Pfizer Inc.’s
PFE,
+1.49%
chief executive officer Albert Bourla said in an interview Sunday that the drug maker should know if its COVID-19 vaccine candidate will work by the end of October — and if approved, it could be distributed in the U.S. by the end of the year. Pfizer is partnering with German drug maker BioNTech
BNTX,
+4.79%
on the vaccine’s development.

Oxford University also announced Saturday it would resume a trial for the coronavirus candidate it’s developing with AstraZeneca
AZN,
-0.86%.
The study was halted last week following a U.K. patient falling ill pending a review into the “unexplained illness.” Oxford University said it has been deemed safe to continue. Shares of AstraZeneca rose 0.5%.

U.S.-based Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD announced a $21 billion deal on Sunday to buy biotech Immunomedics Inc. IMMU, maker of a key breast-cancer drug.

Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. announced a $40 billion deal late Sunday to sell U.K.-based microprocessor designer Arm Holdings to chipmaker Nvidia
NVDA,
+7.44%
for a mix of cash and stock.

The technology sector was also lifted by M&A, with shares of German software group SAP SE
SAP,
+0.03%
up 0.3% and chip equipment maker ASML Holding NV
ASML,
+2.39%

ASML,
+0.87%
up 0.3%.

And the race for TikTok is heating up. Software group Oracle Corp.
ORCL,
+4.33%
had been tipped to take over the video-sharing app’s U.S. after China’s ByteDance apparently rejected an offer from technology giant Microsoft Corp.
MSFT,
+1.45%
But in the latest twist, Chinese state media say ByteDance has turned down Oracle as well.

Elsewhere, Euronext NV
ENX,
-3.54%
said Monday that it has submitted a non-binding offer to acquire Borsa Italiana from London Stock Exchange Group PLC
LSE,
-0.79%.
The pan-European exchange partnered with Italian lenders Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Equity and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA
ISP,
-0.23%
on the offer. Euronext shares slipped 0.2% and London Stock Exchange shares rose 0.5%.



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