EU Stocks and US Futures Rise on M&A and Vaccine Hopes

A series of high-profile acquisitions and a resumption of COVID-19 vaccine testing in Oxford have stoked investor optimism.

Global stocks rose on Monday following news of several high-profile mergers and acquisitions, in addition to a statement from AstraZeneca and Oxford University confirming that trials for their prospective COVID-19 vaccine have restarted.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 rose 0.8% as markets opened, with surges of 0.9% reported by the Stoxx 50, CAC 40 and DAX.

US futures also saw a boost, with Nasdaq-100 futures rising by 1.3% in Monday trading, alongside S&P 500 futures at 1.2% and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures at 1%.

The gains follow a week of losses for Wall Street as tech stocks were sold off en masse. The sudden resurgence of investor hopes can be attributed in part to a series of landmark M&A events over the weekend, including Nvidia’s purchase of SoftBank’s Arm Holdings and Oracle’s purchase of TikTok from Chinese parent ByteDance.

“Mergers and acquisitions activity showed there was still a bit of life in the market,” said Russ Mould, investment director of AJ Bell, citing US pharma giant Gilead’s purchase of a cancer specialist for upwards of $20 billion as another significant event.

Also encouraging was the news from AstraZeneca, whose stock fell 6% after news broke last week that its COVID-19 vaccine trials had been halted in response to a patient reportedly developing a rare spinal inflammation. Currently, only UK trials have been resumed.

“The Company will continue to work with health authorities across the world and be guided as to when other clinical trials can resume to provide the vaccine broadly, equitably and at no profit during this pandemic,” AstraZeneca spokesperson Michele Meixell wrote in an emailed statement.

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