European Shares Mixed In Cautious Trade

European stocks were mixed on Monday as investors took some profits after strong gains in the previous session.

Signs of a slowdown in coronavirus infection rates as well as hopes of more economic stimulus to shore up global growth helped to limit the downside to some extent.

Meanwhile, the euro area trade surplus increased in February as exports increased from January amid a fall in imports, first estimate from Eurostat showed.

The trade surplus rose to a seasonally adjusted EUR 25.8 billion in February from EUR 18.2 billion in January.

The euro area current account surplus rose to EUR 40 billion in February from EUR 32 billion in January, the European Central Bank reported.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was up 0.25 percent at 334.30 after climbing 2.6 percent on Friday. The German DAX was rising 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 were marginally lower, giving up early gains.

Aston Martin shares jumped 5 percent in London. The company’s new chairman Lawrence Stroll said immediate priorities will be to restart manufacturing and launch production of its crucial first SUV.

Total SA gave up 1.7 percent and Tullow Oil fell as much as 5 percent as New York oil collapsed below $15 a barrel to hit the lowest level in more than two decades.

Homebuilder Redrow tumbled over 3 percent. The company said that John Tutte has agreed to delay the step back to non-executive Chairman from 30th June until the company’s AGM in November 2020.

Premier Foods shares soared 16 percent. The company said it expects to report trading profit for the 52 weeks ended 28 March 2020 at the top end of market expectations.

French mass media conglomerate Vivendi rallied 4 percent. The company reported that its total revenue for the first quarter increased 11.9 percent to 3.87 billion euros from last year’s 3.46 billion euros.

German hospital operator Rhoen-Klinikum edged up about half a percent. The company said its shareholder Asklepios had rejected the demands by B. Braun to the increase of the majority requirement and make an advance dividend payment.

Koninklijke Philips NV surged 7 percent after its first-quarter comparable order intake grew 23 percent, led by diagnostic imaging, patient monitors and ventilators.

Swiss drug major Novartis gained about 1 percent. The company said it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a Phase III clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with Covid-19 disease.

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