Slide in Pharma Stocks Keeps Europe Below Record Highs

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Reuters European shares hovered just below record highs on Friday as a slide in healthcarerelated stocks more than offset a boost from the financial sector, although Credit Suisse rose after a Reuters report that it was considering a potential merger with UBS.

The scandalhit Swiss bank was up 2.1 as the report said Credit Suisses management was under pressure to come up with an overhaul plan. UBS shares were up 0.1.

The panEuropean STOXX 600 was flat by 0755 GMT, but was set to end the week modestly higher following sharp swings on concerns of higher inflation hitting real income and leading central banks to raise interest rates sooner than expected.

With the U.S. Federal Reserve sending out mixed messages this week on how hot it would let inflation run, all eyes on Friday will be on the U.S. core personal consumption expenditures PCE report, the central banks preferred inflation measure.

Todays May number is not expected to be immune to the continued move higher in prices and further increases in the PCE deflator could well reignite market concerns about a less than transitory inflation environment, said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The STOXX 600 fell sharply from record highs last week after a surprisingly hawkish tone from Fed officials roiled global financial markets. MKTSGLOB

The European Central Bank has reiterated that it was too soon to taper monetary policy in Europe, while on Thursday, the Bank of England struck a dovish tone…

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