AstraZeneca weighs on Europe shares as it rejects Pfizer bid

LONDON Mon May 19, 2014 3:12am EDT

LONDON May 19 (Reuters) - European stocks edged lower on Monday, with British pharma group AstraZeneca weighing after it rejected a takeover bid, while broader sentiment was capped by an uncertain economic picture.

Shares in AstraZeneca fell 12.8 percent after it rejected a sweetened "final" offer from Pfizer, leaving it uncertain if the U.S. drugmaker would pull off its plan to create the world's biggest pharmaceuticals group.

The stock knocked 2 points off the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was down 2.8 points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,358.21 points at 0708 GMT.

News that China is tightening its grip on interbank lending to defuse risks in shadow banks capped investor sentiment in Asia overnight.

After disappointing economic data from some key euro zone countries last week, investors were reluctant to push main regional indexes to multi-year highs hit last week in the absence of fresh positive catalysts. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Lionel Laurent)

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