LONDON MARKET OPEN: Europe joins equities rally; pound improves

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Asian markets on Monday jumped on the bandwagon of a positive end to last week on Wall Street, giving European markets a lift at the open, amid hopes that central banks may at last be getting a grip on runaway inflation.

If true, global interest rates could top out soon than previously expected.

The FTSE 100 index was up 49.93 points, or 0.7%, at 7,258.74. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index was up 141.41 points, or 0.7%, at 19,265.12. The AIM All-Share index was up 6.99 points, or 0.8%, at 903.26.

The Cboe UK 100 index was up 0.6% at 723.60. The Cboe 250 was up 0.8% at 16,894.33 and the Cboe Small Companies up 0.1% at 13,508.71.

Paris and Frankfurt also were making gains. The CAC 40 stock index was up 0.9%, while the DAX 40 was up 1.2%.

In Asia on Monday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed up 1.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite ended up 1.8%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was 2.4% higher. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 1.9%.

Wall Street ended sharply higher on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 2.7%, S&P 500 up 3.1% and Nasdaq Composite up 3.3%.

In the FTSE 100 early Monday, oil majors Shell and BP were up 1.8% and 1.1% respectively, tracking spot oil prices higher.

Brent oil was trading at $113.81 a barrel Monday morning, up from $113.44 late Friday.

Conversely, AstraZeneca was down 0.2%, even after two key breast cancer treatments were recommended for European approval.

AstraZeneca said its Lynparza treatment has been recommended for approval in the European Union by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use for early breast cancer treatment, after positive phase-three results. Lynparza also demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival, reducing the risk of death by 32% versus placebo, the drugmaker said.

Separately, Astra said its Enhertu drug also has been recommended for approval in the European Union for patients with breast cancer. The CHMP based its positive opinion on results from the Destiny-Breast03 phase three trial, which were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The trial results showed that Enhertu reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 72% compared with the trastuzumab emtansine drug.

Lynparza was co-developed by Astra with Merck & Co, while Enhertu was jointly developed with Daiichi Sankyo.

In the FTSE 250, PZ Cussons was up 1.1% after the personal care products maker said trading for the fourth quarter to May 31 continued to be in line with expectations despite a challenging trading environment.

The Carex, St Tropez and Imperial Leather products maker expects revenue for the financial year of £590 million, with full-year like-for-like revenue growth of 3% and fourth-quarter LFL growth of 7%. PZ Cussons recorded revenue of £603.3 million in financial 2021.

PZ Cussons said growth continues to be driven primarily by improvements in price mix, with limited impact on volumes. Its expectations for annual adjusted pretax profit are unchanged.

At the other end of the midcaps, Biffa was down 1.4% at 401.40 pence.

The waste management company said the release of its financial 2022 results will be delayed, as it has requested additional time to complete the audit procedures related to its landfill tax enquiry.

Biffa said the results will be released as soon as auditor Deloitte has completed its work and expects adjusted results in line with earlier trading updates. Biffa's financial year ended in March.

Earlier this month, Biffa said it had received a series of ‘unsolicited and indicative’ proposals from private equity firm Energy Capital Partners LLC, an investor in the fields of energy transition, renewables and infrastructure. It said it was ‘minded to recommend’ a possible offer of 445p per share in cash, valuing Biffa around £1.36 billion.

Elsewhere, Wise was up 0.3%, even after the money transfers provider said the UK regulator is investigating its chief executive after a tax breach.

Wise said the UK Financial Conduct Authority has opened an investigation into Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer Kristo Kaarmann.

Wise said that UK tax collector HM Revenue & Customs in September of last year updated its published list of individuals and businesses receiving penalties for a deliberate default regarding their tax affairs. Kaarmann was included on the list and will remain so for 12 months from its publication.

Following Kaarman's inclusion on the list, the board of Wise had conducted an investigation with the help of external legal counsel and shared the findings of this with the FCA.

Wise said Kaarmann intends to cooperate fully with the FCA in its investigation.

The pound was quoted at $1.2328 early Monday, up from $1.2282 at the London equities close Friday.

The euro was priced at $1.0580, up from $1.0549. Against the yen, the dollar was quoted at JP¥135.04 in London, lower against JP¥135.10.

Gold stood at $1,837.66 an ounce, higher against $1,830.41 late Friday.

Monday's economic calendar has US durable goods orders data at 1330 BST. The week picks up pace with a US consumer confidence reading on Wednesday, eurozone unemployment data on Thursday, before inflation readings from the bloc on Friday.

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