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24 Aug, 2020 15:23 24 Aug, 2020 15:45

Sector movers: M&A speculation still in the driver's seat, Big Pharma gains

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Mergers and acquisitions speculation continued to drive sector moves at the start of the week - yet again.

This time it was the telecommunications that was in focus.

According to Sky News, BT Group asked bankers at Goldman Sachs to update its defence strategy to fend off potential takeover approaches from industry rivals and buyout firms after the suspension of its dividend sent the shares tumbling to their lowest level in more than a decade.

It was understood that boutique investment bank Robey Warshaw, a long-standing adviser to Vodafone, may also be asked by BT to play a role. Sources told Sky that BT had not yet received a formal approach from any potential suitor.

As of 1503 BST, shares of BT were 5.03% higher with the company's market value again back above the £10bn mark.

"At a share price of 100p, BT has an implied EV of just £40bn (post IFRS16) on our estimates. Unlike the public market, the private markets tend to appreciate the longer-term benefits of guaranteed cash flows generated after the completion of FTTH rollout, especially in an environment with low interest rates," was Deutsche Bank's take on the speculation around BT Group.

"If a deal materialized, BT would be run privately, allowing it to better focus [...]."

AstraZeneca shares were advancing alongside on the back of speculation that the Trump administration might push for fast-track approval of the Covid-19 vaccine under development by Oxford University and the drug giant.

Triggering that speculation, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, that the White House was considering whether to bypass normal US regulatory standards to accelerate that vaccine for use in the States before the presidential elections.

The FT cited three unnamed people briefed on the matter, although a spokesman for the US Health and Human Services department reportedly denied that emergency use approval might be granted before the 3 November elections.

For its part, AstraZeneca added that it had not talked to Washington about a possible EUA for its vaccine.

Shares of AstraZeneca had been rangebound since the end of April in anticipation of clinical trial results that were expected for between early September and early October.

Travel&Leisure names were near the bottom of the pile after Sunday saw France report 4,897 Covid-19 cases, the worst tally since mid-April, while the 1,210 seen in Italy were the most since mid-May, as Jim Reid at Deutsche Bank pointed out.

Top performing sectors so far today

Fixed Line Telecommunications 1,324.08 +5.02%

Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 18,267.88 +3.05%

Electronic & Electrical Equipment 8,950.20 +2.68%

Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 4,479.59 +2.66%

Tobacco 26,907.88 +2.66%

Bottom performing sectors so far today

Real Estate Investment & Services 2,441.72 -0.97%

Industrial Transportation 1,944.68 -0.80%

Travel & Leisure 6,462.59 -0.64%

Real Estate Investment Trusts 2,575.44 -0.31%

Alternative Energy 0.00 0.00%

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Pilling and Co Stockbrokers Ltd. is not responsible for the content or accuracy of third party news articles and we may not share the views of the author.

We provide third party news for your convenience and information only and make no representation or endorsement whatsoever and hereby exclude all liability for any loss or damage that may be incurred by you as a result of your access or use. Please note that third party content may be subject to terms and conditions imposed by the third party owner of that content.