Stocks in Europe are on the back foot in early trading amidst mixed earnings from Vivendi and Ahold and a downturn in healthcare and basic resource shares.

European healthcare stocks have been caught in the storm of another attack on price gauging in the industry from presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. Shire and Hikma Pharmaceuticals are amongst the top fallers on the FTSE 100 whilst Qiagen in Germany was a top faller in the Stoxx 600 Healthcare euro price index.

The FTSE 350 Mining Index is off by over 2% from the open. Poorly-received earnings from Glencore on Wednesday and lower oil prices continue to weigh on commodity-sensitive shares.

CRH is top riser in the FTSE 100 after reporting a rise in first half profits to 407m euros, raising its interim dividend and forecasting a continuation of growth trends into the second half. CRH is another company which (like the rest of us) is uncertain of the medium term effects of Brexit, but has not seen any impact on its business so far.

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US stocks look set for a lower open on Thursday ahead of durable goods and service sector data and earnings from discount stores Dollar General and Dollar Tree as well as Tiffany.

Top North American dollar stores (the US version of pound shops) Dollar General and Dollar Tree report earnings on Thursday, a year on from the merger of the latter and rival Family Dollar.

Hilary Clinton’s attack on the price gauging of an allergy medicine is expected to continue to weigh on the healthcare sector. Biotechs especially, including the likes of Amgen, Biogen and Celgene can be expected to remain under pressure. Her statements reaffirm a fear in the industry that a Clinton presidency would see a serious crackdown on pharmaceutical price gauging.

What’s setting up to be a down week for oil, after three weeks of gains, is coinciding with a pullback in US equities to the bottom of the recent price range.

USA pre-opening levels

S&P 500: 3 points lower at 2,172

Dow Jones: 26 points lower at 18,455

Nasdaq 100: 8 points lower at 4,775


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