12:29 PM EDT, 05/27/2021 (MT Newswires) -- European shares closed mixed on Thursday, with attention on corporate news such as HSBC's (HSBA.L, HSB.PA) plans to boost its expansion into Asia and Sanofi (SAN.PA) and GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK.L) upcoming COVID-19 vaccine.
The French CAC ended up 0.7%, the European STOXX 600 closed up 0.2% and the Swiss Market Index finished down 0.1%. Meanwhile, the German DAX 30 ended down 0.3% and the FTSE 100 closed down 0.1%.
On a slim economic calendar, German GfK Consumer Climate Indicator is expected to increase to -7 points in June, up 1.6 points from the revised -8.6 reading in May, data from Growth from Knowledge showed. Analysts expected the indicator to reach -5.2.
Sanofi and GSK's COVID-19 shot candidate is finally entering late-stage clinical development after lackluster early data that delayed the jab's availability and had the companies reevaluate its formula. The two companies said they are enrolling more than 35,000 volunteers aged 18 and older from clinical sites in the US, Asia, Africa and Latin America in a late-stage study of their investigational vaccine. Shares in Sanofi and GSK ended down 2% and 1%, respectively.
Meanwhile, HSBC said it is looking to exit the US domestic mass-market retail banking business through a number of transactions, pending regulatory approval. Out of its current network of 148 branches, HSBC Bank USA will sell 80 branches to Citizens Bank, 10 to Cathay Bank and wind down about 35 to 40 branches. It will retain and repurpose a small network of physical sites in up to 25 international wealth centers. Shares in HSBC ended up 0.7%.
Still in the UK, Aviva (AV.L) said it made "very good progress" in the first quarter, lowering its debt as well as posting record growth in its savings and retirement division, with the insurer remaining confident on its future performance. Following the sale of eight non-core assets, the group said it is now focused on its UK, Ireland and Canada businesses, with the company highlighting the "excellent headway" made in reducing leverage, with debt down by 1.9 billion pounds in the first half of the year. Shares in Aviva ended up 3.2%.
Meanwhile, Vodafone Group (VOD.L) and Orange (ORA.PA) are reviewing a potential combination of their mobile networks in Spain in a bid to achieve synergies, local newspaper Expansion reported Thursday. The British and French telecommunications companies also plan to establish a unit to combine their teams that design, deploy, manage and maintain the mobile networks. Shares in Vodafone and Orange ended up 1% and marginally lower, respectively.
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