Shire Higher

Wednesday, 28 March: Yesterday we were finally given a respite from yet more losses to global bourses. Unfortunately all that has been carried into Wednesday is volatility that has much been the theme of the month, and European markets this morning opened sharply lower giving away much of what we rescued in the prior session immediately. The negative open was led from a sell-off in US tech, which sent major Asian indices lower including the Nikkei -1.34% and Hang Seng -2.34%. So, as expected we followed suit but over the course of the day managed to pare back early losses that almost breached 1%, eventually leading the FTSE to close 0.64% higher.

The FTSE’s fine form was primarily led by Shire shares that rallied following rumours a possible takeover attempt is brewing from Japanese pharmaceutical firm Takeda. This was enough to send shares around 20% higher before closing +14%. Of course this is merely confirmation that the firm is simply considering the move, no official bid has been made but this has been enough to excite investors whilst the M&A environment remains strong. Remaining with pharma’ it is reported that GSK expect Nestle, Kraft Heinz and Unilever to bid for their Horlicks brand. Which is believed to be offloaded to help fund GSK purchase Novartis’ stake in their consumer healthcare JV.

DFS shares also had a good session as they climbed over 8% on the day after first half results. Despite a huge drop in pretax profit and a drop in revenues investors are clearly looking through these financials and putting them down to one-off acquisition related expenses. Accounting for the recent Sofology acquisition revenues climbed 4.3% and they comment that recent performance had improved despite the ongoing challenging environment.

As we write Wall Street has got off to a mixed start, with the tech weighted NASDAQ falling further due to the sector’s woes. Of course nobody in particular has caused this, have they Mark? Brent oil is down 1.5% in the session sitting just above $69 p/bbl and the pound has had a mixed day, sitting flat against the euro (€1.1429) but falling c.0.5% against the dollar ($1.4107).

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