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* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca AZN.L said a late-stage trial to test whether its diabetes drug Farxiga could treat patients hospitalised with COVID-19, who are at risk of developing serious complications, did not meet its main goals. HAMMERSON: Shopping centre operator Hammerson HMSO.L confirmed it was in talks on the possible sale of its retail parks portfolio to Canadian private equity player Brookfield Asset Management BAMa.TO . ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca AZN.L had a positive meeting with the European Commission last week, the Anglo-Swedish company said after an Italian newspaper said the group had not replied to an EU letter of complaint over COVID-19 vaccines within a 20-day deadline. ECONOMY: Confidence among big businesses in Britain about their profits in the year ahead has hit a record high, helped by the country's coronavirus vaccinations and hopes for less Brexit disruption, a survey of chief finance officers showed. TRADE DEAL: A group of lawmakers in the United Kingdom and a few business figures have formed an independent commission to improve Britain's trade deal with the European Union and the rest of the world, the Financial Times reported. GOLD: Gold prices fell on Monday, weighed down by firmer U.S. Treasury yields and dollar after better-than-expected U.S. economic data lifted prospects for higher inflation. OIL: Oil was little changed amid hopes that fuel demand is picking up in the U.S. as the summer driving season approaches and COVID-19 vaccinations there accelerate, although rising case numbers in other countries are keeping a lid on prices. London's FTSE 100 ended lower on Friday as heavyweight mining stocks tracked lower commodity prices, although the blue-chip index recorded its best weekly performance since early January on optimism about a recovery in the UK economy. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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