Pfizer in Advanced Talks to Buy Global Blood Therapeutics for About $5 Billion
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Pfizer Inc. is in advanced talks to buy Global Blood Therapeutics Inc., the maker of a recently approved drug for sickle-cell disease, for about $5 billion, in the latest move by the drug giant to bolster its portfolio and pipeline. Pfizer is aiming to seal a deal for GBT in the coming days, according to people familiar with the matter. The situation is still fluid, and other suitors are still in the mix, some of the people said. GBT announces its second-quarter results Monday. Bloomberg reported earlier this week that potential buyers were circling GBT, without naming them. The shares shot up on the news, adding to earlier gains since the spring. They closed Friday up 33% at $63.84 after The Wall Street Journal reported on the talks with Pfizer, giving GBT a market value of more than $4 billion. GBT, of South San Francisco, was founded in 2011. Buying the company would add to Pfizer’s presence in rare diseases, furnishing a drug already on sale for the treatment of sickle-cell disease as well as two in development that have produced positive results in preliminary studies.
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Interest rate fears spilling over from the USA to Europe weighed on the Swiss stock market on Friday. The SMI fell by 0.7 per cent to 11,123 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 14 losers and six gainers. 25.1 (previously: 30.52) million shares were traded. Insurance stocks in Switzerland benefited from higher market interest rates, with Zurich Insurance, Swiss Life and Swiss Re gaining between 0.4 and 0.6 per cent. The banking sector lagged behind. Credit Suisse shares lost 0.6 per cent. According to media reports, the bank is threatened with financial losses in Mexico. In addition, Fitch, another rating agency, had lowered the bank's credit rating - with a negative outlook. After Swisscom shares had reacted cautiously to the business report the previous day, they started the week with a 2.1 per cent increase. Among the second-line stocks, Coltene (-4.3%), Orell Füssli (+3.4%) and Mobimo (+0.2%) presented business figures.
The European stock markets closed in the red on Friday, after the publication of strong employment figures in the United States. The data gives the Federal Reserve (Fed) a strong case for further aggressive monetary tightening. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.8% to 435.7 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 and SBF 120 were down 0.6% and 0.7% respectively. The DAX 40 in Frankfurt lost 0.7%, while the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.1%. Deutsche Post AG said earnings increased in the second quarter, beating expectations, and confirmed its earnings target for the year. The German freight-and-logistics group said Friday that quarterly net profit rose to 1.46 billion euros ($1.50 billion) from EUR1.29 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected EUR1.23 billion, according to consensus estimates provided by the company. Quarterly revenue increased 23% to EUR24.03 billion, while earnings before interest and taxes rose 12% to EUR2.34 billion. Analysts had expected EUR21.79 billion in revenue and Ebit of EUR2.01 billion. Ericsson is being sued by hundreds of Americans who say the company’s alleged payment of bribes to al Qaeda and Islamic State—protection money meant to let it operate in Iraq—also helped fund acts of terror. The Stockholm-based telecommunications company, which was sued Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C., faces claims from more than 500 U.S. service members and civilians who were victims of terrorist attacks and hostage takings from 2005 to 2021, along with the families of those killed in attacks.
U.S. stocks finished Friday close to flat after a surprisingly strong jobs report cast doubt on the Federal Reserve being able to shift away from interest-rate increases anytime soon. Investors had come to widely believe that the Fed could pivot to cutting interest rates as early as the first half of 2023, given signs of cooling activity across the economy. That would have been a balm for markets, which have tumbled this year as the Fed has swiftly raised interest rates to combat stubbornly high inflation. But Friday's data showed the labor market was doing anything but cooling. The labor market added 528,000 jobs in July -- more than doubling what analysts had estimated and returning payrolls to their prepandemic level. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, near historic lows. The S&P 500 dropped 6.75 points, or 0.2%, to 4145.19 on Friday, making up most of its losses from early in the trading day. For the week, it rose 0.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 76.65 points, or 0.2%, to 32803.47 and fell 0.1% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite declined 63.03 points, or 0.5%, to 12657.55 and rose 2.2% for the week. Shares of AMC Entertainment rose $3.52, or 19%, to $22.18 after the cinema chain said revenue quintupled in the recent quarter and that it would issue a special dividend in the form of preferred shares. Virgin Galactic shares fell $1.43, or 17%, to $6.76 after the company delayed its initial launch of tourists into space. Warner Bros. Discovery shares declined $2.89, or 17%, to $14.59 after the new company swung to a $3.42 billion loss in the second quarter, which it said was partly due to charges related to the recent merger that created the media giant.
The Asian stock markets were caught between interest rate fears and economic optimism on Monday. While prices in Shanghai are up 0.2 percent - supported by good export data - Hong Kong is down 0.8 percent. Hong Kong's more international investors are bothered by new lockdowns in China, where an entire resort area has been completely sealed off following new Corona outbreaks there.
U.S. Bond prices fell, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note jumping to 2.838% from 2.674% Thursday.
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