Telecoms merger news props up European shares, halting market slide

Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:08am EDT

* Vodafone tables 7.7 bln euro bid for Kabel Deutschland
    * FTSEurofirst 300 flat at 1,131.21
    * U.S. stimulus, China banking worries weigh on sentiment
    * ENRC falls as Kazakhmys backs 3 billion pound bid

    By David Brett
    LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) - Merger activity in the telecoms
sector halted a slide in European shares early on Monday,
cushioning the market against concerns over the withdrawal of
U.S. monetary stimulus and the risk of a credit crunch in China.
    Heavyweight Vodafone struck its biggest deal since
2007, agreeing to buy Germany's largest cable operator Kabel
Deutschland for 7.7 billion euros. 
. Kabel Deutschland's shares rose 1.8 percent and
Vodafone was 1.0 percent higher.
    Debt-laden Spanish major Telefonica rose 0.3
percent after agreeing to sell its O2 Ireland mobile business
for 780 million euros.  
    By 0839 GMT, the European telecoms sector was up
0.4 percent and the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3 flat at 1,131.88.
The index has spiralled down from the year's May 23 high of
1,258.09.
    "The widespread complacency about the adjustment to the
tapering environment, which suggested that equities would remain
immune to the winding down of central bank support, must now
have been dispelled," Ian Williams, equity strategist at Peel
Hunt, said.
    "The transition towards a more growth-driven phase of market
performance is likely to remain bumpy through the summer as the
long-awaited improvement in corporate earnings has been slow to
emerge.
    Weak sentiment towards miners deepened on worries
over China's banking system, where overnight rates remained
high. The central bank in Beijing, which withheld funds to the
money market last week, said on Monday there was sufficient
liquidity and banks needed to improve their cash management.
    That has highlighted concerns over slowing growth, and
Goldman Sachs cut its China GDP forecasts for 2013 and 2014.
    Goldman Sachs said: "The recent tightening of the interbank
market has sent a strong policy signal that the strong credit
growth earlier in the year will likely not continue."
    Miners, which rely heavily on strong demand from the world's
biggest consumer of raw materials, were the top falling sector,
down 0.8 percent.
    ENRC fell 3 percent as major shareholder Kazakhmys
 ratified a bid of around 3 billion pounds by a trio of
ENRC's founders, which was unchanged in structure from a
proposal first tabled in May. 
    Kazakhmys shed 8.4 percent.
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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