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Europe Markets: European stocks and U.S. equity futures climb on vaccine hopes and M&A action

European stocks and U.S. equity futures are climbing as investors get optimistic over vaccine possibilities to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More...

Capped vials of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which has restarted trials after a pause last week.

Vincenzo Pinto/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

European stocks marched higher on Monday, alongside U.S. equity futures, driven by vaccine hopes, mergers and acquisitions news.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.10% rose 0.3% after ending last week nearly 1.7% higher, the best weekly return since the week ending August 7. The German DAX DAX, +0.12% gained 0.3%, the French CAC 40 PX1, +0.29% rose 0.4%, while the FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.00% was trading flat.

Investors will hear from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan in the coming days in a busy week for central bank meetings.

Wall Street was also pointing to a stronger start, with Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, +1.46% surging 145 points, or 1.3%, while S&P 500 futures ES00, +1.22% rallied 38.95 points, or 1.2%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, +1.02% jumped 278 points, or 1%.

Those gains came on the heels of a losing week for Wall Street, with the Dow DJIA, +0.47% dropping 1.7%, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.05% falling 2.5% and the Nasdaq COMP, -0.60% dropping 4.1%, its worst weekly loss since the week ending March 20.

Renewed hopes over a coronavirus vaccine also helped improved sentiment at the beginning of the week.

Pfizer Inc.’s PFE, +1.17% chief executive officer Albert Bourla said in an interview Sunday that the drug maker should know if its COVID-19 vaccine candidate will work by the end of October — and if approved, it could be distributed in the U.S. by the end of the year. Pfizer is partnering with German drug maker BioNTech BNTX, +6.42% on the vaccine’s development.

Oxford University also announced Saturday it would resume a trial for the coronavirus candidate it’s developing with AstraZeneca AZN, -0.34%. The study was halted last week following a U.K. patient falling ill pending a review into the “unexplained illness.” Oxford University said it has been deemed safe to continue. Shares of AstraZeneca rose 0.5%.

U.S.-based Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD announced a $21 billion deal on Sunday to buy biotech Immunomedics Inc. IMMU, maker of a key breast-cancer drug.

Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. announced a $40 billion deal late Sunday to sell U.K.-based microprocessor designer Arm Holdings to chipmaker Nvidia NVDA, -1.19% for a mix of cash and stock.

The technology sector was also lifted by M&A, with shares of German software group SAP SE SAP, +0.16% up 0.3% and chip equipment maker ASML Holding NV ASML, +0.62% ASML, +0.16% up 0.3%.

And the race for TikTok is heating up. Software group Oracle Corp. ORCL, -0.57% had been tipped to take over the video-sharing app’s U.S. after China’s ByteDance apparently rejected an offer from technology giant Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -0.65% But in the latest twist, Chinese state media say ByteDance has turned down Oracle as well.

Elsewhere, Euronext NV ENX, -3.14% said Monday that it has submitted a non-binding offer to acquire Borsa Italiana from London Stock Exchange Group PLC LSE, -0.77%. The pan-European exchange partnered with Italian lenders Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Equity and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA ISP, -0.37% on the offer. Euronext shares slipped 0.2% and London Stock Exchange shares rose 0.5%.

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