Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise; drugmakers in focus
PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) - European stocks index futures rose early on Monday, with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fever set to boost shares in the pharmaceutical sector.
Novartis will be in focus after the Swiss drugmaker said it will buy GlaxoSmithKline's oncology products for a $14.5 billion payment, and sell its vaccines business, excluding flu, to GSK for $7.1 billion plus royalties. In a separate transaction, Novartis said it had agreed to divest its animal health division to Eli Lilly for approximately $5.4 billion.
Shares in AstraZeneca will also be eyed after Britain's Sunday Times reported that U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has approached its British rival to propose a 60 billion pound ($101 billion) takeover.
On the earnings front, Philips reported a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating profit as restructuring costs and unfavourable currency effects weighed on earnings.
At 0628 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.3-0.4 percent.
The market's gains on Monday could be limited, however, by simmering tensions in Ukraine.
An international agreement to avert wider conflict in Ukraine was faltering on Monday, with pro-Moscow separatist gunmen showing no sign of surrendering government buildings they have seized.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v