June 7, 2019 / 8:41 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-European stocks head for best week in 2 months, Sanofi jumps

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* European shares on track for best week in a month

* France’s CAC 40 outperforms on Sanofi jump

* Danish co Novozymes slumps after FY guidance cuts

* U.S. jobs number could sway interest rate expectations (Adds comment, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar and Medha Singh

June 7 (Reuters) - European stocks were on course to notch their best weekly performance in two months on Friday as a jump in shares of French pharma giant Sanofi added to the positive mood created by expectations of more moves by central banks to stir growth.

France’s CAC 40 outperformed its peers with a 1.2% rise, helped by a 4.5% jump in Sanofi after the company appointed Swiss rival Novartis’ executive Paul Hudson as its new boss.

The stock was on track to post its best day in more than seven months, helping the healthcare sector rise 0.5%.

“Hudson’s immediate challenges will be working with the new CFO to improve cost efficiency in the business,” analysts at Liberum Capital said in a note. “As an external, and non-French hire Hudson will be seen as a step in the right direction.”

Investors have largely favoured defensive sectors such as utilities and healthcare in a week that has seen stock markets globally gain despite uncertainties over trade and monetary policy.

Signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve that interest rate cuts are on the cards have been at the heart of those moves, and monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls on Friday are likely to set the tone for the next week.

European stocks, however, were hit by a stronger euro on Thursday after the European Central Bank refrained from providing as dovish an outlook as hoped.

“Major central banks are prepared to do what is necessary, should the situation warrant it. That reassurance is what has been holding equities up this week,” said Ken Odeluga, market analyst at London-based City Index.

In fresh evidence that the trade friction and uncertainty over Britain’s chaotic Brexit process were taking a toll, data showed German industrial output fell more than expected in April.

However, the broader recovery in the region helped Germany’s DAX rise 0.6%.

Automakers, sensitive to trade headlines, gained 0.2% after a report that U.S. President Donald Trump could delay the tariffs he had threatened to put on Mexican goods as soon as this coming Monday.

A 4.3% fall in German car parts maker Hella after a downgrade by brokerage BHF kept gains in check for the sector.

The energy sector was the biggest gainer among the major subsectors with oil majors Total and BP PLC up more than 1% as crude prices jumped.

Shares in Danish chemicals firm Novozymes slumped 7.2% to become the top decliner on the STOXX after it cut its 2019 sales outlook for the second time in less than two months on the back of weak U.S. ethanol production.

Dutch insurer ASR rose 5.5%, top performer on STOXX 600 after rival Vivat, for which ASR previously made an offer, agreed to be bought out by private European life insurer Athora. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Helen Reid in London; editing by Patrick Graham)

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