European shares edge higher, French telcos a drag

EDINBURGH, July 2 Wed Jul 2, 2014 3:21am EDT

EDINBURGH, July 2 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Wednesday, following fresh highs in U.S. markets and a three-year peak for Asian stocks, though dashed hopes for deal-making in the French telecoms sector kept a lid on gains.

At 0711 GMT the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.2 percent at 1,384.89, with benchmark indexes in Germany, UK and Italy all in positive territory.

The French blue-chip CAC 40 index, however, fell 0.1 percent, with Orange, Bouygues and Iliad down between 2.9 percent and 4 percent after Orange said on Wednesday it was dropping the idea of taking part in tie-ups in the French telecoms market.

Telecom-equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent rose 4.6 percent, the top perfomer on the FTSEurofirst 300 index, after it was lifted to "overweight" from "neutral" by JP Morgan.

The STOXX 600 autos and parts sector rose 1 percent, the top sectoral riser, after U.S. car sales data came in ahead of expectations for most major firms in the sector, hitting levels not seen since July 2006. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Lionel Laurent)