(Northern) Europe is currently experiencing a heatwave with many comparing it to the infamous heatwave of 1976, a weather event so intense it’s been held responsible for inspiring the British punk movement. Sweden is experiencing its hottest July in at least 260 years, while Northern Ireland and Wales experienced their hottest June temperatures on record. One might think we are playing a role in Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 movie masterpiece ‘Rear Window’: the film opens with a shot of a thermometer showing 94 degrees Fahrenheit or 34 degrees Celsius, it’s hot as blazes outside, no one has air conditioning in their apartment so all the windows and curtains are open and everyone’s a little on edge. Sound familiar? In any case, this stretch of hot weather doesn’t have an end in sight just yet, with high temperatures expected across large sections of Northern Europe over the next week(s).
Ageas was also feeling the heat last trading week when on Tuesday, after the close of markets, Bloomberg published an article stating that the Chinese international conglomerate and investment company Fosun was rumoured to consider taking over Ageas or teaming up with a partner to split up Ageas or to increase its current stake in Ageas. Fosun is an existing shareholder, with just over a 3% stake in Ageas, but Ageas has received no formal indication of concrete interest of Fosun. In any case, in the event any shareholder exceeds the 5% threshold they and Ageas are required to publicly announce this to the market. Although Ageas was quick to dismiss these reports as market rumours and speculation the investor community picked up on the rumour and the following day the Ageas share opened 4.2% up at EUR 45.40. On Tuesday, Ageas’s shares went as high as EUR 46.53 or +6.6% but finally closed +3.23% at EUR 45.07. In total 2,877,395 Ageas shares were traded on Euronext or 4.2 times 2018 average daily volume of around 690,000.
It was a busy trading week, with about a third of the S&P 500 companies reporting quarterly results. European investors breathed a sigh of relief after U.S. President Donald Trump and the European Commission chief agreed to tackle their transatlantic trade row and the European Central Bank confirmed that the i-rate would remain at the current historical low level ‘through the summer of 2019’ at least. The Ageas share eventually closed at EUR 45.51 (+6%) close to the Ageas all-time share price high of EUR 45.67 and clearly outperforming both the Eurostoxx 50 (+2%) and the SXIP 600 Insurance index (+1.7%).