European shares eke out gains at open as healthcare stocks rebound




  • In Business
  • 2022-08-12 07:28:08Z
  • By Reuters
 

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) -European shares rose on Friday after GSK led a rebound in healthcare stocks, while Flutter fuelled a rally in the travel and leisure sector after an upbeat earnings forecast.

GSK added 2.2% after a tumble in the previous session on growing worries about U.S. litigation focused on a heartburn drug that contained a probable carcinogen.

Sanofi and Haleon shares, which also fell on Thursday on the concerns, edged higher in early trading.

That helped the European healthcare sector gain 0.3%, with the STOXX 600 index rising 0.4%.

Travel & leisure stocks jumped 2.7%, leading sectoral gains.

Flutter surged 9% to the top of the European travel index, as it saw no sign of cash-strapped customers betting less and expects to finish the year ahead of 2021 excluding a final year of losses in the U.S.

Irish stocks added 1.8%, boosted by Flutter.

The STOXX 600 index, up for a second straight day, was set to notch up weekly gains of 1.4% as a softer-than-expected U.S. inflation reading calmed nerves around aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, though concerns remain over policymakers' thinking.

European shares have fallen 9.4% so far this year compared with a nearly 12% decline for Wall Street's S&P 500 index, largely dragged down by sharp drops in big growth stocks in the first half of the year.

Still, concerns remain. Europe is struggling with the fallout of the war in Ukraine as it looks to source energy from non-Russian sources.

"For Europe, the news flow continued to be much more downbeat than in the U.S. of late, as concerns mounted across the continent about the energy situation this winter," said Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid.

"Governments are coming under increasing pressure to do something about this, and German Chancellor Scholz said (on Thursday) that there would be further relief measures for consumers."

London stocks gained 0.6% after data showed Britain's economy contracted by less than feared in the second quarter. [.L]

Roche rose 1.2% after the drugmaker received approval from the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration for its Xofluza drug to treat influenza in children aged five years and older.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in BengaluruEditing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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