European shares mark time, Bouygues up on M&A hopes

LONDON Fri May 16, 2014 3:15am EDT

LONDON May 16 (Reuters) - Major European equity indexes opened flat to lower on Friday as a gloomier economic picture in Europe and a selloff on Wall Street dented risk appetite, though the caution was balanced by hopes for renewed deal-making activity.

French industrial and telecoms conglomerate Bouygues was a sharp outperformer, rising 3.7 percent on speculation about a possible tie-up with Orange, whose shares rose 1.2 percent.

At 0708 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.1 percent at 1,356.89 points, while France's CAC was up 0.1 percent after recording its steepest daily fall since late March on Thursday on the back of disappointing GDP data.

"Markets are vulnerable because growth expectations are a little bit too high," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Lionel Laurent)

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