* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1, Euro STOXX 50 flat
* ITV up on Liberty bid speculation
* Novartis rallies on heart failure drug's prospects
* Investors weigh ECB stimulus bet against geopolitical woes
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, Sept 1 European shares kicked off
September on a flat note as investors weighed mergers and
acquisitions speculation and expectations of new monetary
largesse in Europe against tensions in Ukraine and weak economic
data out of China.
British broadcaster ITV rose 1.9 percent after the
Telegraph reported Liberty Global Plc was canvassing
support from major ITV shareholders following its acquisition of
a 6.4 percent stake, raising speculation of a full takeover bid.
"Liberty has a 6 percent stake, arrived in Europe last year
wanting to buy everything and have followed through on very
little," Justin Haque, a broker a Hobart Capital Markets, said.
"ITV is on a cheap (multiple and) ... a clear recovery
The stock was among top gainers on the pan-European
FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was up 0.1 percent at
1,375.80 points by 0719 GMT. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50
was flat at 3,172.65.
Novartis was the top riser on the index, up 3
percent, on bets a new medicine from the Swiss drugs group could
replace drugs that have been central to treating heart failure
for a quarter of century, after proving remarkably effective in
reducing deaths in a keenly awaited study.
Investors were weighing speculation the European Central
Bank may announce new stimulus measures against worries about
weak Chinese PMI data and any escalation between Russia and the
West over Ukraine.
"At least for now quantitative easing hopes seems to trump
absolutely everything including sharply escalating tensions in
Ukraine and weak Chinese PMI figures," Markus Huber, a trader at
Peregrine & Black, said.
"Still, in markets things like these can change very quickly
and any sudden worsening of the situation in eastern Ukraine can
push geopolitics quickly to the forefront again."
Trading volume was likely to be thin on Monday, with the
U.S. market shut for a national holiday.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alison Williams)