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US, European stocks up; merger criticism hits AT&T-Time Warner

US and European stocks moved higher Monday, but criticism of the proposed mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner prompted a decline in the firms’ share prices.

The deal, worth $108 billion, became a political issue after it was sharply criticized by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and drew skepticism from several leading Democrats, including vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.

Eurozone stock markets marched higher following bright economic data, showing business activity in October at a 10-month high (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall) / MANILA BULLETIN

Eurozone stock markets marched higher following bright economic data, showing business activity in October at a 10-month high (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall) / MANILA BULLETIN

Time Warner and AT&T dropped 3.0 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, as the companies girded for tough scrutiny over their merger.

But other technology shares moved higher in US trading: Amazon jumped 2.3 percent and Google parent Alphabet 1.7 percent ahead of earnings reports later this week. Apple, which reports Tuesday, climbed 0.9 percent.

Wall Street action also focused on a series of smaller merger and acquisition announcements and quarterly earnings reports.

“Certainly the earnings season is coming better than expected by a long shot, in terms of numbers of companies that are beating and both the top and bottom line,” said Art Hogan, of Wunderlich Securities.

“Then you have the hundreds of billions of dollars of M&A transactions announced, that tends to have a pretty positive effect on the market as well.”

Eurozone stock markets marched higher following bright economic data, showing business activity in October at a 10-month high.

“A positive swell of data has continued to boost the eurozone,” said analyst Connor Campbell at trading firm Spreadex.

In Asia meanwhile, Shanghai led a broad rally on hopes China will unveil fresh economy-boosting measures. Chinese growth has levelled out this year after a painful slowdown, but there are hopes officials will push on with spending measures and reforms, particularly of giant state-owned firms.

But oil and oil-linked shares were down on the day.

“The comments by Iraq over the weekend that they think they should be able to raise their production and not be under quota raise some doubts about the OPEC deal,” said Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group.

“And on top of that, a rising dollar puts downward pressure over the prices.”