- US imposes new sanctions on some Russian citizens and firms
- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says sanctions will have response
- Healthcare stocks lead gains
- Traders anxious ahead of Eurozone CPI data
FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.34%
Ibex 35: 0.14%
Stoxx 600: 0.19%
European stocks finished the day modestly higher on the heels of a raft of news on the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) front and despite the imposition of new sanctions against Russia.
The truth is, Russian stocks initially gained after the above were announced. However, Capital Economics had this to say: "This could not have come at a worse time for Russia's economy, which was struggling even before the crisis in Ukraine erupted. The resilience of Russia's economy is often overplayed and a recession seems more likely than not this year."
The think tank added however that the crisis in Eastern Europe will "probably not" escalate significantly, "even though the risks of miscalculation are high". Nor, it said, would an escalation likely derail the recovery in Western Europe.
That came on the heels of a report that the Mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv - which had managed to remain relatively unscathed from the present chaos - had been shot and was undergoing emergency surgery.
Upcoming Eurozone CPI data in focus
Acting as a backdrop, traders are anxious ahead of Wednesday's preliminary print on Eurozone consumer prices for April, which are expected show a gain of between 0.8% and 0.9% on the year, after falling to 0.5% in March. The CPI report is expected to reflect higher prices for services, especially travel-related, around the Easter holidays (which were in March last year), Barclays Research explained.
Also worth noting, this past weekend Unicredit slammed reports earlier in the week regarding the unsustainability of public finances in the Eurozone periphery and the recent drop in long-term bond yields.
Healthcare stocks lead gains
From a sector standpoint, and within the DJ Stoxx 600, the largest gains were seen in the following industry groups: Healthcare (1.57%), Chemicals (0.84%) and Food&Beverage (0.73%).
US drugs giant Pfizer confirmed a previous $99bn proposal to 'merge' with UK peer AstraZeneca. The American firm also indicated that it was still interested in a possible tie-up.
Over the weekend, German industrial conglomerate Siemens moved to block General Electric's (GE) attempt to make away with French rival Alstom's power unit.
French authorities postponed a meeting with GE Chief Executive Jeffery Immelt while the rival proposals are evaluated.
Bayer unveiled an 11% increase in its first quarter underlying operating profits, ahead of consensus.
Speaking to Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag Novartis Chief Executive said his firm can spend up to $5bn on bolt-on acquisitions.
Light day on the economic front
Some market commentary highlighted the drop in excess liquidity within the euro area to below €100bn seen last Thursday as a potential source of concern, although analysts at HSBC played this down as a risk.
Import prices in Germany declined by 0.6% month-on-month in March, according to the Federal Statistics Office, and by 3.3% year-on-year.
Crude futures slip
The euro/dollar was holding 0.01% higher at 1.3840.
Front-month Brent crude futures were advancing by 0.847% to the $108.66/barrel mark on the ICE.