* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.3 pct
* Elan surges after $8.6 bln takeover offer from Perrigo
* Media stocks jump after Publicis-Omnicom merger plan
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, July 29 European stocks rose on Monday as
a flurry of big mergers and acquisitions deals boosted sentiment
and helped the market bounce back after a two-session dip.
Shares in Irish drugmaker Elan jumped 8.3 percent
after U.S. peer Perrigo agreed to buy the firm for $8.6
billion, sparking a rally in health care stocks, with Shire
up 2.1 percent and AstraZeneca up 1.2
Media shares also surged, boosted by a merger plan between
Publicis and Omnicom unveiled over the
weekend, in a deal worth $35.1 billion.
France's Havas soared 5.7 percent and UK's WPP
added 1.7 percent. Publicis shares were halted on
At 0802 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,209.40 points, after
losing about 0.8 percent in two sessions. The benchmark index
has risen 9 percent since late June.
Also among the biggest gainers on Monday, France's Essilor
, an ophthalmic optics company, rose 4.1 percent after
buying a 51 percent stake in photochromic lens unit Transitions
Optical from PPG Industries Inc for $1.73 billion.
The media and health care sectors have outperformed the
market this year, with the STOXX Europe 600 media index
up 17 percent and the STOXX Europe 600 health care index
up 14.4 percent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 is up 6.9 percent.
"These big M&A deals are a big boost for the market,
although the buzz is usually short-lived, so I remain relatively
cautious at this point," said Philippe de Vandiere, analyst at
Altedia Investment Consulting, in Paris.
"The market has risen quite a lot already and even though we
didn't really have nasty surprises in earnings, there's no big
catalyst seen ahead, and we see investors turning more
On the earnings front, French food group Danone
gained 3.1 percent after saying sales growth accelerated in the
second quarter, and keeping its full-year 2013 profit and sales
Siemens rose 1.5 percent. The German engineering
conglomerate said its supervisory board will decide on the early
departure of its chief executive on July 31.
Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index was up 0.6
percent, Germany's DAX index up 0.8 percent, and
France's CAC 40 up 0.5 percent. The euro zone's
blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.3 percent at
"I'm quite positive, the market goes up slowly with some
consolidation moves happening during the session," TradingSat
analyst Alexandre Tixier said.
"Trading volumes remain brisk, which is a sign of strong
buying appetite at this point. Our exposure to equities is at 80
percent right now."