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Europe midday: Deal-making helps buoy sentiment

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Tuesday 25 Jun 2019

Europe midday: Deal-making helps buoy sentiment

(Sharecast News) - Stocks across the Continent were coming off their earlier lows, with news of multiple multi-billion dollar corporate deals on both sides of the Atlantic apparently helping to offset investors' concerns around the geopolitical situation in the Middle East.
Overnight, Washington slapped sanctions on Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and eight senior military commanders designed to cut them off from financial resources, with the US President saying that the Ayatollah was "the one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime".

That backdrop prompted CMC Markets UK's Michael Hewson to tell clients earlier in the session that: "The inability of US markets to significantly build on the gains of last week appears to have prompted some profit taking in Asia and European markets in today as tensions between the US and Iran escalate even further after the US extended sanctions to key officials in the Iranian government, including the supreme leader."

But come midday, Europe's main stock market gauges were trading just a tad lower.

As of 1206 BST, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was dipping 0.10% to 383.38, alongside a drop of 0.59% o 21,156.38 for the FTSE Mibtel, while the German Dax was down by just 0.08% to 12,264.94.

Somewhat ironically, the risk that heightened tensions in th Gulf might scupper the upcoming OPEC summit appered to be pushing front month Brent crude oil futures down by 0.69% to $64.41 a barrel on the ICE.

In the market spotlight, shares of French engineering and R&D services specialist Altran were trading 22% higher following an all cash €3.6bn friendly takeover bid from IT consultancy group Cap Gemini.

Across the Pond meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that drugmaker Abbvie was plotting to offer a 45% premium, or $60bn, mainly in cash, to take out rival Allergan.

What fresh news was available on the economic front was slightly downbeat.

INSEE's manufacturing sector index slipped from a reading of 104.0 in May to 102.0 for June (consensus: 104.0)

"Overall, these headlines leave us slightly confused. Apparently, manufacturers were very upbeat in May, and now they see storm clouds on the horizon," said Claus Vistesen, chief Eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"In short, the headline index is back to square one, slightly above its long-run average, though last week's increase in the manufacturing PMI tells a more positive picture."


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