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M&A lifts European shares despite Brexit worries

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09/11/2020 | 12:24pm EDT
The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

European shares ended a choppy trading session higher on Friday, as investors weighed signs of a pick up in M&A activity against the economic threat from growing prospects of a no-deal Brexit.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1% and ended the week about 1.8% higher. The index has been in a holding pattern since June as economic growth lost momentum due to a stronger euro, increasing the cost of European exports.

Meanwhile, the EU is ramping up preparations for a tumultuous end to the four-year Brexit saga as top officials prepared to brief its 27 members on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to break the divorce treaty.

"The Brexit talks could turn into another major headache for investors," said Milan Cutkovic, market analyst at AxiCorp.

"UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson still intends to rewrite the UK's Brexit treaty, even as the EU is threatening to take legal actions and the chances of securing a trade deal are decreasing."

Most of the major sector indexes were lower, a day after the ECB held interest rates steady and said it was closely watching the euro.

Oil and gas stocks were among the biggest decliners as crude prices fell, while defensive plays including healthcare, telecoms and real estate <.SX86P> edged higher.

M&A activity took centre stage, with Altice Europe's shares soaring 24.4% to a three-month high and on top of the STOXX 600 after it agreed to be bought by its founder Patrick Drahi.

Swiss frozen baked goods maker Aryzta jumped 12.5% after it said it was in advanced talks with private equity firm Elliott Advisors over a takeover deal.

The pan-European Euronext exchange edged 1.7% higher as it confirmed with Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) that they were in talks to buy the Milan stock exchange Borsa Italiana.

France's CAC 40 index saw some changes to its components. Accor dropped 4.3% on its exclusion from the index, while Alstom jumped 1.6% on being included.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Mark Potter)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ACCOR -2.50% 23.4 Real-time Quote.-42.52%
ALSTOM -1.36% 41.94 Real-time Quote.0.69%
ALTICE EUROPE N.V. 0.93% 4.13 Delayed Quote.-28.81%
ALTICE USA, INC. 0.46% 26.12 Delayed Quote.-4.90%
ARYZTA AG -5.27% 0.575 Delayed Quote.-43.90%
CAC 40 0.43% 4824.04 Real-time Quote.-19.65%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) 0.41% 0.91128 Delayed Quote.7.94%
EURO STOXX 50 0.02% 3194.09 Delayed Quote.-14.73%
EURONEXT N.V. 0.37% 107.3 Real-time Quote.47.14%
LONDON BRENT OIL -3.37% 40.72 Delayed Quote.-38.18%
STOXX EUROPE 600 0.20% 361.8 Delayed Quote.-13.17%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR 0.23% 795.54 Delayed Quote.-11.56%
WTI -3.61% 38.582 Delayed Quote.-34.77%
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