Want the lowdown on what’s moving European markets in your inbox every morning? Sign up here.
Good morning. A return of tough measures to combat the virus, Lukashenko seeks Russian help, and Microsoft may want TikTok’s U.K. operations. Here’s what’s moving markets.
Amid local spikes in Covid-19 cases, Italy and Spain told nightclubs to close again while Italy also mandated the wearing of masks wherever social distancing can’t be ensured during the day. France’s public health agency warned that all of the country’s Covid-19 indicators are trending upward. Elsewhere, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decided to delay the country’s election by four weeks amid a renewed flare-up of the coronavirus in the island nation. Australia suffered its deadliest day since the start of the pandemic.
The U.K. housing market saw a surge in activity last month as Londoners sought to flee the city after lockdown and a tax break encouraged buyers, Rightmove data show. Prices hit unseasonal record highs in seven regions, but a drop in London pulled down the national average to a 0.2% decline. The stampede out of cities could get even stronger in the coming months as almost two-thirds of British businesses expect all or some of their employees to work remotely for the next year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered potential support to Belarus after leader Alexander Lukashenko appealed for his help in the face of unprecedented protests that have been met with a brutal police crackdown. Russia is ready to provide assistance to Belarus in “resolving the problems” that arose after the presidential election a week ago, the Kremlin said. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered peacefully in the center of Minsk, the Belarusian capital, and rallied in cities across the country on Sunday, calling for Lukashenko’s resignation and the release of detainees.
Microsoft Corp. is interested in buying the popular music video app TikTok’s U.K. operations, expanding beyond the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand units that are already under discussion, Fox Business Network reported, citing a banker it didn’t identify. The U.K. government said in early August that it has no plans to block the ByteDance platform in the country. TikTok is sitting on a plan to move its headquarters from the U.S. to London as it waits for a public statement of support from the British government, the South China Morning Post reported last week.
Pharma M&A is back, with Sanofi’s $3.4 billion deal to buy Principia Biopharma Inc. It’s a light schedule for corporate news otherwise, with Danish hearing aid maker Demant A/S and U.K. packaged food company Cranswick Plc set to report earnings. Thunderstorms in many European cities are forecast to bring some much-needed relief from the heat.