JD Sports Buys Shoe Palace In $325 Million Deal

European markets have edged up this morning, with commodities pushing up the FTSE 100, which is currently gaining 0.4% on the day. The biggest riser is JD Sports which is up over 6% as they announce a deal to buy US sportswear brand Shoe Palace for $325 million in an all cash deal. The deal sees Britain's largest sportswear retailer expand its influence across the pond, specifically on the West Coast where Shoe Palace are predominately based.

The gains come despite increasing infection worries as London enters tougher restrictions from midnight tonight. The recent rapid rise of cases in certain areas has been linked to a new strain of Covid-19 which spreads much faster, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday in a briefing.

Monday was a mixed day for stocks, as news of the first Covid-19 vaccinations being administered to the American public played off against a potential new wave of pandemic restrictions in New York. The S&P 500 and FTSE 100 were both in negative territory, while the Nasdaq Composite delivered gains.

In corporate news, investors reacted negatively to AstraZeneca’s planned $39bn takeovers of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Although the deal significantly expands the firm’s presence in immunology, its Nasdaq-listed shares were down 7.8% while its London price fell by 5.9%. On the other end of the deal, Alexion’s share price jumped by 29.2%. The deal appears to have taken investors by surprise, as recently the firm has been heavily focused on its cancer business and Covid-19 vaccine, per Reuters.

Elsewhere, energy stocks continued a recent run of volatility on Monday, with the S&P 500’s energy sector slipping by 3.5%. Of the S&P 500’s worst 10 performing stocks on the day, nine came from the energy sector. The falls for the energy sector came amid some weakness in the oil price, although both WTI and Brent oil remain well above previous lows, with the latter staying above $50 per barrel.

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