European shares down, weighed by healthcare sector after Trump comments

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
European shares down, weighed by healthcare sector after Trump comments

* Europe's healthcare sector bruised by Trump drug prices barb

* Novo Nordisk , Inmarsat and BTG bottom of STOXX

* Italy's UBI Banca extends gains on bank rescue news

* British retail sector mixed after results (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Helen Reid

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday in early deals, weighed down by healthcare stocks after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump targeted pharmaceuticals' drug pricing in a press conference.

Europe's healthcare sector index .SXDP dropped 2.2 percent, the biggest sectoral faller, and headed for its biggest loss since November. The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX index was down 0.5 percent.

Trump on Wednesday commented on the need for competitive drug pricing, saying pharmaceutical companies were "getting away with murder" by charging high drug prices healthcare companies in Europe are quite interconnected with the U.S. so Trump's comments bode badly for the sector," said Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group.

Biotechnology was a top gainer in the last bull rally so traditional market rotation dictates it should not lead the Trump rally in any case, Lawler said. "A hostile policy [on healthcare] just adds extra pressure."

Pharmaceuticals companies Novo Nordisk NOVOb.CO , Inmarsat ISA.L and BTG BTG.L were the top STOXX fallers, with Novo smarting from a U.S. class action lawsuit, down 5.3 percent. Jupiter Fund Management JUP.L also slumped, down 5.4 percent after reporting that clients pulled 373 million pounds ($456 million) from its funds during the fourth quarter, largely exiting European and multi-manager strategies.

Italy's UBI Banca UBI.MI was top of the STOXX, gaining 11 percent on news the bank would buy three rescued Italian banks through a 400 million euro share issue. luxury goods group Richemont CFR.S was also a top European gainer, its shares jumping 8 percent and heading for their biggest one-day gain in nearly four years, after its trading update indicated a pick-up in demand for watches and jewellery. Peer Swatch Group (SIX: UHR ) also gained 5 percent. blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 0.2 percent, with retailers Tesco TSCO.L and AB Foods ABF.L top fallers despite results being in line with forecasts. Peer Sainsbury SBRY.L was also down 2 percent.

"Tesco stock still has fulsome recovery earnings multiples, the equity does not yet yield a dividend and on a pension and lease adjusted basis the solvency ratios are still high in an absolute and relative context," said Shore Capital analyst Clive Black.

"Accordingly, we see this as a good statement, albeit perhaps not good enough for the 'uber' bulls."

Rival supermarket Marks & Spencer MKS.L was up 2.5 percent after a strong Christmas trading update.

Basic resources and precious metals miners once again led the index, boosted by a weaker dollar, with Randgold Resources RRS.L , Fresnillo FRES.L , and Anglo American AAL.L top gainers.

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