Markets Are Drifting Higher

Markets have reopened in Europe after a four-day holiday. And stocks are trading higher.

Britain’s FTSE is up 0.8%.

France’s CAC 40 is up 0.6%.

Germany’s DAX is up 1.0%.

Spain’s IBEX is up 0.3%.

Earlier today, Swiss drugmaker Novartis announced three huge deals: 1) it’s acquiring GlaxoSmithKline’s oncology business for $US14.5 billion; 2) it’s divesting its vaccines business to GSK for $US7.1 billion plus royalties; and 3) it’s divesting its animal health business to Eli Lilly for $US5.4 billion.

In other big pharma news, hedge fund Pershing Square Capital disclosed that it owned about 10% of the $US40 billion botox-maker Allergan. The Wall Street Journal reports that Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals are orchestrating a takeover of the drug company.

All of this comes a day after a modest rally in U.S. markets where the Dow and S&P 500 are both on five-day winning streaks.

Dow and S&P futures are flat right now. However, the Nasdaq is up 1.7 points. The momentum stock-heavy index may be benefiting from Netflix, whose shares spiked after the company announced better-than-expected Q1 earnings on Monday afternoon.

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