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European stocks rise on AstraZeneca, ASM strength

·2-min read
German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) -European stocks rose on Wednesday after one of the worst market routs this year as AstraZeneca lifted healthcare stocks on a deal to buy a rare disease drugmaker, while chip equipment producer ASM gained on an upbeat earnings forecast.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca jumped 4.2% after saying it will take full control of Caelum Biosciences in a deal worth up to $500 million.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.6%, with investors gradually looking past a 2.2% fall in the previous session.

"If investing is often about climbing a wall of worry, then market participants arguably face the equivalent of the Matterhorn right now but on Wednesday investors seemed to be undaunted," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Global stocks tumbled on Tuesday as U.S. government bond yields surged on growing expectations of faster interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and steered investors away from high-growth technology stocks.

The European tech sector slipped 0.7% extending its declines from Tuesday. ASML Holding NV, one of the key suppliers to computer chip makers, reversed earlier gains to trade 2.6% lower even after raising financial targets.

ASM International jumped almost 3.9% a day after it raised its third-quarter order intake guidance.

After smooth gains in the past seven months, stock markets have faced volatility in September with investors nervous about major central banks withdrawing pandemic-era stimulus amid signs of higher inflation.

The benchmark STOXX 600 is on course to end September 3.2% lower, leaving it with marginal gains on the quarter.

"Rates are still low in a historical context, but a sharp sustained increase will unnerve markets if the economy is caught short of time to adapt to tighter credit conditions," said Jim Smigiel, chief investment officer at SEI.

A recent surge in commodity prices, supply-chain constraints, the Evergrande debt crisis and a power crunch in China have all hurt global growth sentiment.

Data showed Spain's inflation surged to a 13-year-high in September.

British clothing retailer Next climbed 3.9% to a record high after it raised its full-year profit outlook for the fourth time in six months.

Meanwhile, the oil & gas index slipped back from over one-year highs as a recent rally in crude prices petered out following an unexpected build in U.S. inventories. [O/R]

Royal Mail Plc dropped 8.8% to the bottom of the UK's FTSE 100 after UBS downgraded the stock to "sell" from "buy".

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, William Maclean)

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