London: European shares turned positive in mid-morning trade on Thursday, with gains in drugmakers offsetting weakness in banks, while Adidas rose on upbeat results overnight from peer Nike.
By 4:05pm, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares was up 0.1% at 1,071.56 points, having touched a high at 1,071.94 points earlier. The index hit a 17-month closing high on Wednesday.
Drugmakers were higher. GlaxoSmithKline gained 2.6% after Novartis handed back US rights to a drug widely thought to be a generic copy of Glaxo’s blockbuster Advair, reducing the threat of cheap copies of the lung drug in the company’s biggest market.
Novartis was flat, while AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis and Roche added 0.6 to 0.9%.
Among individual gainers, sports gear maker Adidas added 3.3% after peer Nike beat Wall Street expectations in its third quarter on Wednesday.
Banks were lower, reversing gains from the previous session. Barclays, HSBC, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank and Deutsche Bank lost 0.5 to 5.8%.