What to Watch: Thomas Cook rivals' shares soar, AstraZeneca boost and poor EU growth

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Thomas Cook rivals including easyJet and Tui (previously Thomson) are benefiting from the. Photo: aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Rivals take off after Thomas Cook collapse

Thomas Cook’s rivals have seen their share prices soar after its collapse, as markets bet on the firm’s demise narrowing competition in the holiday industry.

Shares were up up 6.2% in Tui (TUI.L), up 6% in easyJet (EZJ.L) and up 3.1% in Ryanair (RYA.L) at around 9am in London, boosting the FTSE.

On the Beach and Dart Group also benefited as it was confirmed the world’s oldest travel company had gone out of business, according to Reuters.

Liberum analysts wrote in a note: "The removal of Thomas Cook’s capacity from the market should be positive for pricing in the short term, over the forthcoming winter season.”

Boost for AstraZeneca over diabetes drug

AstraZeneca shares rose after it drew closer to sign-off for a diabetes drug. Photo: PA

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) shares leapt in early trading on Monday after it confirmed one of its drugs was a step closer to receiving the green light from EU regulators.

The company’s Qtrilmet tablets, used to treat adults with type-2 diabetes, were recommended for authorisation to be marketed across the EU.

The European Medicines Agency’s committee for medicinal products for human use backed the drugs after five trials showed positive results.

AstraZeneca shares rose 1.5%, but had slipped to 0.7% higher at around 9.20am.

Growth drops across the eurozone

Growth is stumbling across eurozone economies, according to a widely watched survey of industry across the continent.

A major index showed an unexpected drop in activity, prompting fresh worries about the health of leading European economies despite a recent stimulus announcement by the European Central Bank.

The headline figure dropped from 51.9 in August to 50.4 in September on the latest purchasing managers’ index by IHS Markit.

READ MORE: EU car chiefs unite in warning over no-deal Brexit

The numbers suggest region only narrowly avoided shrinking over the month, with figures below 50 indicating contraction and above 50 indicating growth.

IHS Markit’s index for Germany showed private sector activity shrinking for the first time in more than six years in September, with grow slowing in services and manufacturing’s decline worsening.

Phil Smith of IHS Markit said the German economy was “limping” towards the final quarter, with “simply awful” manufacturing figures at their worst index reading in more than 10 years.

"All the uncertainty around trade wars, the outlook for the car industry and Brexit are paralyzing order books, with September seeing the worst performance from the sector since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009," said Smith.

European markets open lower

Poor survey figures hit shares across Europe, with the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) down 0.8% and the FTSE 250 (^FTMC) and Euronext 100 (^N100) both down 1% in early trading in London.

German’s DAX (^GDAXI) index sank by 1.5% on the particularly poor data showing its economy’s woes spreading beyond manufacturing and into services. France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was down 1.1%.

Overnight in Asia, trading was mixed. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) was up 0.2%, but China’s Shanghai Composite index (000001.SS) was down 1% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index (^HSI) was down 0.8%.

What to expect in the US

Nasdaq futures (NQ=F), Dow Jones futures (YM=F), S&P500 futures (ES=F) were all down 0.1% just before 10am in London.