UPDATE 1-Takeover activity buoys European equities

Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:44pm EST

* Germany's DAX hits record high

* Bureau Veritas rises after deal to buy Maxxam Analytics

* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.7 pct at 1,296.83 points

* Euro STOXX 50 ends up 0.7 pct at 3,070.91 points

* IMF forecast of strong U.S. economy boosts equities

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

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 index which hit a record high.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.7 percent at 1,296.83 points. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced 0.7 percent to 3,070.91 points, while Germany's DAX rose 0.9 percent to a record closing high of 9,488.82 points.

Signs of a revival of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity supported the gains.

German broadcaster ProSiebenSat1 rose 1.6 percent as it agreed to sell its east European TV and radio stations.

Testing and inspection group Bureau Veritas also rose 3.5 percent on to the FTSEurofirst 300's leaderboard as traders welcomed its move to buy Maxxam Analytics.

"Whenever you see some M&A, you have to buy the market," said Toby Campbell-Gray, head of trading at Tavira Securities.

Europe's stock markets have benefited this year from signs that 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 around 25 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," she said.

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