* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct in mid-session trading
* DAX slightly outperforms with 0.2 pct rise
* Healthcare stocks boosted by gains at Shire
* Traders see support for equities from M&A and ECB
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, June 17 Gains in Germany's DAX
equity index and new signs of corporate takeover activity
propped up European stock markets on Tuesday, enabling them to
claw back lost ground.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had
fallen in the last two sessions from 6-1/2 year highs, edged
back up by 0.1 percent to 1,385.05 points.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also advanced by 0.1 percent to 3,264.76 points while the DAX -
which hit a record high of 10,033.74 points on June 10 - rose
0.2 percent to 9,906.63 points.
German carmaker Daimler rose 0.2 percent to give
one of the biggest lifts to both the DAX and the FTSEurofirst
300 indexes, after data on Tuesday showed a 4.3 percent rise in
European car sales in May.
European healthcare stocks were boosted by a
2.7 percent gain in UK pharma group Shire. It was
boosted after Reuters reported that Shire had hired investment
bank Citi as an adviser, expecting to receive takeover
approaches following a wave of deals in the healthcare sector.
A resurgence of corporate merger and acquisition (M&A)
activity has lifted European stock markets this year, in spite
of lingering signs of economic weakness in the euro zone.
"Whenever you see some M&A, you have to buy the stock
market," said Toby Campbell-Gray, head of trading at Tavira
Over the last two sessions, European stock markets had
retreated from multi-year highs as violence in Iraq pushed up
the price of oil and knocked back airline and travel stocks.
However, many traders have said new economic stimulus
measures from the European Central Bank should ensure that any
pullback will be relatively short-lived, and the FTSEurofirst
300 remains up by 5 percent since the start of 2014.
"We may see a pullback for a couple of days, but in my view,
it's nothing. This is a very strong bull market, and betting
against it is a bad idea," said Andreas Clenow, hedge fund
trader and principal at ACIES Asset Management.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Additional reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Susan