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European shares gain with focus on UK M&A, Credit Suisse slips - Financial Markets Worldwide

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ReutersStock Markets18 minutes ago (Jan 17, 2022 05:15AM ET)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 14, 2022. REUTERS/Staff

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -European stocks rose on Monday, with deal talks involving British consumer companies boosting the bluechip , while shares in Swiss bank Credit Suisse (SIX:) slipped after its chairman quit following an internal probe into his personal conduct.

The pan-European index rose 0.8%, with Asian markets choppy after China’s central bank cut some key lending rates after mixed economic data, while a U.S. holiday made for thin trading. [MKTS/GLOB]

Media, technology and retail stocks were the top gainers among European sectors, up between 1.1% and 1.6%.

Lifting UK’s FTSE 100, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:) jumped 4.4% after it confirmed over the weekend that it had rejected Unilever (NYSE:)’s 50-billion-pound offer for its consumer healthcare business.

Unilever slid 6.5% to touch March 2020 lows after it signalled on Monday it would pursue the deal, calling it a “strong strategic fit”.

“The negative share price reaction probably reflects investor fears that Unilever is going to come back with a higher offer and potentially pay too much,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse slipped 1.4% after Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio quit following an internal probe into his personal conduct, including breaches of COVID-19 rules.

New chairman Axel Lehmann said Credit Suisse will stick to its strategic overhaul despite Horta-Osorio’s exit, which comes less than a year after he was hired to help the bank deal with the implosion of collapsed investment firm Archegos and the insolvency of British supply chain finance company Greensill Capital.

Europe’s wider banking index gained 0.4%.

“We see the resignation as a negative outcome for Credit Suisse,” JPMorgan (NYSE:) analysts said. “While the company indicates it will continue to execute its strategy, we believe the ongoing turnover with management changes brings further uncertainty.”

European stocks notched record highs at the start of the year, but trading hit a turbulent patch in recent days as investors priced in an aggressive tightening of U.S. monetary policy, while fears remain around the Omicron coronavirus variant slowing economic growth in the short-term.

Sabadell rose 2.7% after HSBC upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold”, as the brokerage sees the Spanish lender’s return on equity improving at a faster pace than its peers.

EDF (PA:) slipped 1.7%, extending losses after Friday’s 15% fall as HSBC downgraded the French utility’s stock, saying it will face “double trouble” of higher costs and lower prices caused by government intervention and lower nuclear output.

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