28 Apr 2009

Drug company shares rise

6:07 am on 28 April 2009

European shares ended higher on Monday as pharmaceutical companies gained on hopes of increased demand for vaccines for swine flu.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed up 0.4% at 813.69 points.

GlaxoSmithKline rose 5.7%, AstraZeneca was up 3.7%, Sanofi-Aventis gained 2.4%and Roche rose 3.5%.

However, travel and leisure stocks were hit: Lufthansa fell 9%, British Airways was down 7.3%, Air France-KLM slipped 6.3% and Tui Travel fell 3.3%.

Cruise operator Carnival, owner of Cunard, was down 6.8% and French hotel major Accor lost 3.7%. Thomas Cook Group was down 4.4%.

A maker of protective equipment, Sperian Protection, rose 23% as it was seen benefiting from the threat of a pandemic.

Shares in Marine Harvest Group, the world's biggest fish farmer, rose more than 6%, on speculation that swine flu could lift salmon prices as witnessed during previous outbreaks of bird flu and cow disease.

Other markets

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4,694.07 points, up 19.75 or 0.42%. In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 3,102.43 points, down 0.42 or 0.01%.

The Swiss market index closed at 5,175.97 points, up 62.92 or 1.23%.

In London, the FTSE 100 closed 11.02 points up, 0.3%, at 4,167.01 after jumping 3.4% on Friday. The index is down 6% this year but has rallied over 20% since 9 March.