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* STOXX Europe 600 index up 0.2 percent
* Actelion hits record after J&J takeover approach
* Monte dei Paschi slumps on cash call concerns
* Commodities shares come under pressure
By Danilo Masoni and Atul Prakash
MILAN/LONDON, Nov 25 European shares rose
slightly on Friday, nearing their highest level in over two
weeks, as the market was supported by a rally in drugmakers on
hopes of tie-up activity in the sector.
Actelion surged 16.8 percent to a record high
after the Swiss biotechnology firm confirmed a report of a
takeover approach from Johnson & Johnson, which also
said discussions were under way.
Actelion, which has been seen as a potential takeover target
for years, said there was no certainty a deal would be reached,
while analysts also expressed some scepticism about the
willingness of its founder and CEO Jean-Paul Clozel to sell.
"We continue to believe that management ... remains
committed to Actelion as an independent company," Barclays said,
while Exane said a successful buyer would need to pay more than
200 CHF per share, a price above Friday's close.
Actelion's jump helped the STOXX Europe 600 Healthcare index
to advance 1.4 percent, the top sector gainer in Europe
as traders bet there could be further M&A in the sector.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended up 0.2
percent. It gained 1 percent this week after rising in the
previous two weeks. The index is up 2.3 percent since Donald
Trump's surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election.
Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis,
said the market could pull back.
"After rallying strongly in the past weeks, European
equities have become vulnerable to some profit-taking. The
largest risk for the stock markets is Trump not delivering on
his lofty promises," he said.
Gains in the broader market were capped by weaker
The European oil and gas index fell 0.6 percent, as
oil prices were dragged down by uncertainty over whether the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will reach an
Miners fell 0.9 percent on a drop in major
industrial metals, with Anglo American and Glencore
both declining more than 1.5 percent.
Elsewhere, Daily Mail and General Trust slumped
4.3 percent after Barclays lowered its rating on the stock to
"underweight" from "equal weight" and cut its target price to
705 pence from 715 pence.
Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena fell 13
percent on doubts it would find buyers for a 5 billion-euro
share sale that is expected to be launched just after a
referendum on Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's constitutional
(Editing by Andrew Roche)