Europe Report: Europe gains on drug find

EUROPEAN shares edged higher to close near a recent one-month peak yesterday, with Novartis leading drugmakers.

Novartis, up 4.3 per cent, was the top gainer on the FTSEurofirst 300 index on news a new medicine from the company could replace drugs that have been central to treating heart disease for 25 years.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.2 per cent higher at 1,376.83 points, just below last week’s one-month high. The Euro STOXX 50 was up 0.1 per cent to 3,175.05.

Investors traded cautiously amid lingering tension in Ukraine, weak economic data from China and lower volumes because of a public holiday in the United States. Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank also loomed.

Russian bank Raiffeisen, which has 2.8m customers in Russia, fell 2.3 per cent on concerns about further sanctions if Putin refuses to back down over Ukraine.