FILE PHOTO:  The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, December 11, 2020. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

December 14, 2020

(Reuters) – European shares rose on Monday, as a decision to extend trade talks between Britain and the European Union kept hopes of an eventual deal alive, but London’s blue-chips lagged on a higher pound as well as a 6.3% drop in AstraZeneca.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.9% after breaking a five-week winning streak to end 1% lower last week.

Leaders from both sides decided to extend talks beyond a Sunday deadline in an attempt to secure a deal to govern around $1 trillion in trade, currently free from tariffs and quotas.

The pound, battered recently by the prospect of a chaotic British exit from the bloc, rose more than 1%, weighing on London’s export-heavy firms that earn revenue in dollars.

The FTSE 100 was flat as gains in most sectors were offset by a slide in AstraZeneca. The drugmaker said over the weekend, it would buy U.S. drugmaker Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion in its largest ever deal.

(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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