European shares gain for third straight session

Reuters August 20 | Updated on August 20, 2019 Published on August 20, 2019

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 per cent.   -  Bloomberg

Gains in AstraZeneca lift FTSE 100

European shares rose for the third straight session on Tuesday, building on a recovery since late last week as British drugmaker AstraZeneca gained on positive data from a late-stage study. Shares of the drugmaker rose 1.6 per cent, lifting the healthcare sector, after the company said its diabetes drug Farxiga met the main goal of the study for the treatment of patients with heart failure.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2 per cent by 0801 GMT, with London's FTSE 100 outperforming. “The underlying fears of a recession are pushing investors to defensive stocks (healthcare, consumer staples and real estate). Last week there were wild swings in markets so investors are probably trying to get ahead of that,” Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said.

European markets have staged a comeback in the last two sessions on growing hopes that central banks and governments will step in to help global economies stave off a recession. Campbell said markets could be holding off until the Jackson Hole Symposium on Thursday where there will be concrete comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell and European Central Bank head Mario Draghi.

Investors will also keep an eye out for minutes from the latest policy meetings of both the Fed and the ECB later this week. Pandora A/S jumped 6.6 per cent to the top of the STOXX 600 index on Tuesday after the Danish jewellery maker maintained its full-year guidance. However, a fall in bank shares and miners capped gains.

BHP Group dropped 1.5 per cent and was the biggest drag on the benchmark index after the world's biggest miner flagged global economic headwinds that could hit demand for its key commodities, iron ore and copper.

Published on August 20, 2019
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