Takeover activity buoys European stock markets
* Germany's DAX hits new record high
* Bureau Veritas rises after deal to buy Maxxam Analytics
* FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX 50 up 0.4 pct
* IMF forecast of strong US economy also buoys equities
LONDON, Dec 23 (Reuters) - European shares rose for the fourth consecutive session on Monday, buoyed by corporate takeover activity and by gains on Germany's DAX stock market, which hit a record high.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.4 percent to 1,292.78 points. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced by 0.4 percent to 3,060.26 points, while Germany's DAX rose 0.8 percent to a record intraday high of 9,471.76 points.
Signs of a revival of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity supported the gains.
German broadcaster ProSiebenSat1 rose 1.2 percent as it agreed to sell its east European TV and radio stations.
Testing and inspection group Bureau Veritas also rose 3.8 percent to the top of the FTSEurofirst 300's leaderboard as traders welcomed its move to buy Maxxam Analytics International Corporation.
"Whenever you see some M&A, you have to buy the market," Toby Campbell-Gray, head of trading at Tavira Securities, said.
Europe's stock markets have benefited this year from signs that the European and other economies are slowly recovering from the after effects of the 2008 financial crisis and the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.
In the latest example of a strengthening economic environment, the International Monetary Fund predicted on Sunday that the U.S. economy would expand at a faster pace in 2014.
Varengold Bank trader Anita Paluch said this backdrop should drive further gains next year for the DAX, which has risen 24 percent since the start of 2013 to outperform a 14 percent rise on the FTSEurofirst 300 index.
"The outlook for the DAX looks very positive. The global economic outlook is definitely improving and this would help the DAX since the index features many export-oriented companies," Paluch said.
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