Takeover activity helps support European equities

Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:21am EST

* Bureau Veritas rises after deal to buy Maxxam Analytics

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.1 pct

* Germany's DAX hits new record high

* IMF forecast of strong U.S economic growth buoys equities

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Dec 23 (Reuters) - European shares rose for the fourth consecutive day on Monday, buoyed by corporate takeover activity and by Germany's DAX stock market, which hit a new record high.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up by 0.2 percent to 1,290.22 points in midsession trading, rising for the fourth straight session.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced by 0.1 percent to 3,052.88 points.

Testing and inspection group Bureau Veritas rose 2.8 percent, topping the FTSEurofirst 300's leaderboard as traders welcomed its move to buy Maxxam Analytics International Corporation.

Another strong performer was synthetic rubber group Lanxess , which rose 2.8 percent to the top of the DAX after bullish outlook comments from its chief executive.

Lanxess' advance enabled the DAX to rise 0.5 percent to a new record high of 9,451.28 points.

The DAX has risen 24 percent since the start of 2013, outperforming a 14 percent rise on the FTSEurofirst 300, and Varengold Bank trader Anita Paluch expected the German stock market to rally further into 2014.

"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," said Paluch.

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.

"As we head into the holiday period it looks likely that equity markets will continue in a positive frame of mind and edge higher against a background of positive macro data," said Titan Investment Partners trader Darren Sinden.

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